Belfast Telegraph

Fleet sector growth boosts new car sales

New car sales grew by 3.3% in August compared with the same month last year, according to industry figures.

Some 81,640 cars were registered last month, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.

Growth was driven by t he f leet sector, which saw a 7.7% rise. Private registrations fell by 0.2%.

Some 1.68 million cars have been registered in 2016 so far, up 2.8% on the same period last year.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "August is traditionally one of the quietest months as consumers look ahead to the September plate change, so growth, albeit small, is good news.

"With showrooms full of exciting models featuring the very latest technology and a raft of affordable finance options, it still makes economic sense to consider buying a new car.

"The key to maintaining this strong market is consumer confidence for which we look to government to deliver the conditions for economic growth."

Diesel demand fell by 0.2% last month, while petrol registrations rose by 5.3%.

Alternatively fuelled vehicles saw growth of 30.8%.

Volkswagen car sales suffered a 25.2% decline in August as the German manufacturer continued to suffer as a result of the diesel emissions scandal.

Just 5,694 Volkswagen cars was registered last month, compared to 7,611 in August 2015.

Year-to-date sales for 2016 are down 9.7% on the same point last year.

Volkswagen Group admitted in September 2015 that 482,000 of its diesel vehicles in the US were fitted with defeat device software to switch engines to a cleaner mode when they were being tested for emissions.

The Wolfsburg-based company announced that 11 million vehicles were affected worldwide - including almost 1.2 million in the UK.