Belfast Telegraph

Big spenders return to Northern Ireland forecourts as sales of Ferrari and Maserati cars more than double

Twice as many supercars power out of showrooms

By John Mulgrew

Sales of Italian supercars Ferrari and Maserati have more than doubled in the last year as big spenders return to Northern Ireland forecourts.

According to a trade body, 47 of the luxury sports cars - which can cost around £100,000 - powered out of out forecourts in 2014, up from just 20 in the previous year.

The figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) also show overall car sales in Northern Ireland are now at their highest level since the financial collapse in 2007.

More than 57,000 were sold during the course of 2014 with small car sales once again propping up the industry.

That was a rise of almost 10% compared to 2013 - with Northern Ireland's motor industry witnessing the second biggest jump, just behind England.

But that number is still some way below the almost 69,000 that were sold across Northern Ireland back in 2007.

And Northern Ireland is still lagging behind the rest of the UK - the only region yet to return to pre-recessionary figures. Car sales are often used as a strong indicator of consumer confidence.

And it's still small cars leading the way for drivers across Northern Ireland - with the Ford Fiesta once again coming out on top for the number vehicles sold last year.

It topped the leader-board with 2,249 new registrations being issued.

Seven of the top 10 cars sold were smaller vehicles - with three compact 4x4 type cars making up the rest of the list.

According to Ulster Bank's chief economist Richard Ramsey, although sales are on the up, Northern Ireland's numbers still drag behind the rest of the UK.

"Despite this growth, sales are still below their 2007 peak.

"One of the key things is that, unlike the rest of the UK, Northern Ireland has not recouped following the downturn."

He said the bump in luxury car sales showed strong and weak performances at both ends of the market.

"Another thing you will see is the 4x4 gas-guzzler market - which was hit pretty hard over the last few years with high petrol prices - could see a boost this year with the drop in oil prices.

"While a lot of the sales increases we are seeing are smaller and more fuel-efficient cars, with lower oil prices, people will be less sensible."

Sales in big supercar names have seen a significant rise in 2014 - with Maserati selling 27 cars.

Ferrari doubled its sales to 20 units last year, while Aston Martin sales were up by three.

Meanwhile sales across the UK reached a 10-year high - with almost 2.5 million sold last year, according to the figures released from the SMMT.

That's the fourth highest sales figure on record.

The UK as a whole remains the second largest new-car market in the EU behind Germany.

Belfast Telegraph