The beleaguered motor industry has received a much-needed boost when new car sale figures rose for the first time since April last year.
A total of 157,149 new cars were registered in July — an increase of 2.4% on the July 2008 figure, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.
The SMMT said yesterday the rise was due to the Government's “cash for bangers” car-scrappage scheme, which was introduced in May.
New car sales in Northern Ireland were up 10% compared to the same month last year from 3,929 in July 08 to 4,322 last month.
However, new car sales in the province have slumped 22.19% year-on-year from 41,135 in 2008 to 32,009.
SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said: “The impact of the scrappage scheme is clear and we are encouraged by the positive impact it has had, increasing new car registrations for the first time since April 2008.
“The industry still faces a long road to recovery and we urge the Government to take action to sustain economic recovery through easing access to finance and credit and delivering the loan guarantees set out by the automotive assistance programme.”
Despite the rise in July, the new UK car sales figures for the year so far are down 22.8% compared with the January-July 2008 total.
The best-selling models in July 2009 were Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus, Vauxhall Corsa, Vauxhall Astra, Volkswagen Golf, Peugeot 207, Vauxhall Insignia, 3 Series, Hyundai i10 and Renault Clio.