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Revealed: Northern Ireland's most popular car brand - with more than 100,000 licensed vehicles

By Adrian Rutherford

A European marque has been crowned Northern Ireland's most popular choice of car.

A report by the Statistics and Research Agency has found a total of 920,407 cars were licensed in Northern Ireland last year. Based on our 1.8 million population, that is equivalent to one vehicle for every two people.

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Colin McNab, the operations director at the Charles Hurst Group car retailer, said the results were unsurprising.

"Small compact models have been extremely popular over the last 10 years.

"Better fuel economy, along with tax benefits for ultra-low emissions, are key deciding factors in new vehicle purchasing here. Newly-lowered interest rates in a highly competitive marketplace still filled with choice and value for all budgets continues to provide the backbone of all sales made locally.

"While smaller cars continue to have an enduring appeal, over the last two years more buyers have switched from these to cross-over models such as the Nissan Qashquai and Kia Sportage which have grown more in popularity."

The statistics also reveal how 44,114 Audis are licensed here, making it the seventh most popular car. There are also 43,121 BMWs on the road, and 4,802 Jaguars. However, Volkswagen still leads the way in terms of popularity.

It remains to be seen what impact, if any, the diesel emissions scandal will have going forward.

Last year the Environmental Protection Agency found many VW cars being sold in America had a "defeat device" - or software - in diesel engines.

It could detect when they were being tested, changing the performance accordingly to improve results. The German car giant has since admitted cheating emissions tests in the US.

The figures were compiled from a dataset for Northern Ireland supplied by the Department for Transport in London, and refer to licensed cars at December 31, 2015.

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