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Emissions scandal hits VW sales as Golf loses its top new car spot

By Rachel Martin

Published 05/12/2015

The number of new VW Golf models sold here fell in November
The number of new VW Golf models sold here fell in November

The Volkswagen Golf has lost further ground in Northern Ireland in the wake of the car giant's emissions scandal.

The latest car sale figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) revealed that the model had lost its place as the most popular new car in Northern Ireland to rivals Hyundai, Ford and Vauxhall.

Last month the car was the fourth most popular new vehicle to be bought in the region, with just 90 new ones sold here compared to 140 the previous month.

Meanwhile, the Hyundai Tucson saw a surge in sales making it November's most popular new car, up seven places from the month before. Similarly, the Ford Kuga saw an uplift in sales, taking it from 10th on the chart to second place.

The Golf was the region's most popular car in October, but the row over emissions hit it badly last month.

Ford Fiesta holds the top spot for the year so far, with 500 more of them sold compared to the Golf, which sits in second in Northern Ireland.

Sales of Volkswagen's most popular cars continued to drop after it emerged that the company had cheated on its European emissions tests.

Last month the marque's second most popular model, the Polo, dropped off the top 10 list completely.

In September the Polo was the second most popular car to be bought new. In October it had dropped six places to number seven in the chart, and by last month the model had disappeared from it.

Last month the Seat Ibiza, also produced by Volkswagen Group, dropped off the top 10 new car registrations.

Data released by SMMT also showed that, in Northern Ireland, the number of new Polos sold in October dropped by two-thirds compared to the month before.

The number of new Volkswagen Golfs sold plummeted by another 50 last month, on top of the 66 fewer cars sold the month before.

A similar trend was noticed in other parts of the UK where last month the Golf disappeared from the top 10 charts in both Scotland and Wales.

Year-on-year, sales of Volkswagen cars in the UK fell 20%. SMMT figures showed there were 3,238 fewer registrations of new Volkswagen cars in the UK last month in comparison to 16,196 in November 2014.

November sales in the US were also down 25% on the same month last year.

In the latest statement from the company, a spokesperson said: "The CO2 values and therefore the fuel consumption data published by Volkswagen for some models are incorrectly stated. We are currently reviewing which models are specifically affected."

In October Volkswagen shares also dropped further after it announced an internal investigation had found "irregularities" in carbon dioxide emission levels, which could affect about 800,000 cars in Europe.

The internal investigation carried out by the firm into diesel emissions revealed that CO2 emissions and fuel consumption were also understated during standards tests.

Volkswagen Group said the findings mainly involved diesel cars but suggested that some petrol models could also be affected across its Volkswagen, Skoda, Audi and Seat ranges.

The news came just weeks after the company admitted cheating nitrogen oxide level tests.

By October 2, shares in the company had hit £92.36, the lowest price in five years.

In Northern Ireland, new cars represent a small part of the market.

In 2014 almost 135,000 used Volkswagen Polo cars and just over 236,000 Volkswagen Golf cars were sold here compared to just over 51,000 new cars of all makes.

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