Brakes applied to new car sales in Northern Ireland

Motor industry data showed a 16.8 per cent drop in new car sales in the North in March

Ford vehicles were among the most popular new cars sold in Northern Ireland in March. Photograph: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

Ford vehicles were among the most popular new cars sold in Northern Ireland in March. Photograph: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

 

New car sales decelerated in Northern Ireland during March with 1,434 fewer new cars being driven off forecourts compared with the same month last year, according to industry data.

Figures released on Thursday by the UK’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMIT), show that 7,122 cars were sold in Northern Ireland last month compared with 8,556 in March 2017.

According to SMMIT, the 16.8 per cent drop in new car sales in the North in March was in line with a decline in overall car sales across the UK last month.

SMMIT said “economic and political uncertainty and confusion over air quality plans continued to affect confidence, resulting in declines across all sales types”.

But the industry group added that new car registrations in the UK during March remained at an historically high level hitting a total of 474,069.

The most popular cars sold in Northern Ireland last month were Ford Fiestas followed by Ford Kugas.

There was no data available on luxury car sales in the North but the Agnew Group, which operates 17 dealerships around Belfast and Portadown, will be hoping its latest £6 million (€6.86 million) investment could boost sales of one prestigious brand in particular.

It has officially opened a new Porsche Centre at the Titanic Quarter in Belfast, which features a showroom that is more than double the size of its previous location.

The Agnew Group marked the official opening of its latest 28,000 sq foot showroom, which has the capacity to showcase 15 Porsche cars and 40 pre-owned models, with the first UK and Ireland preview of the new Porsche Cayenne.