New cars push economy up a gear
One of the most accurate measures of consumer confidence in Northern Ireland climbed sharply last month, adding to a growing list of positive economic data.
The number of new cars registered here climbed by over 13% in October to 3,564, according to industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, a sign consumers are feeling confident about their future finances.
The latest rise brings the total number of new car registrations in Northern Ireland so far this year to 47,398, a 9% increase on the first 10 months of 2012.
A spokesperson for car retailer the Donnelly Group said: "These figures are reflective of what we are witnessing across our seven sites. With 18 manufacturers represented across the group, consumers are recognising we can supply new cars to suit every budget and every motorist."
The data follows news that the Northern Ireland economy climbed for the third consecutive month in September, coming amid a falling unemployment rate. But relative to the peak output from the Northern Ireland economy in 2007, new car registrations, like other economic data, have still some way to go before recovering fully and last year were down over 30% on a peak-to-trough.
The top ten most popular cars have also changed over the last few years of recession with premium marques, such as BMW, not apparent in today's lists.
One a year-to-date basis the Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf continue to dominate the top three positions and they've been joined in the top 10 by the likes of Nissan, for its crossover Qashqai and Juke, and Kia, for its Sportage.
Colin McNab, of Charles Hurst Group, said: "These latest figures continue to show the steady and strong rise in new car sales across the UK and I am pleased they confirm yet again what we are seeing on the forecourts here in Northern Ireland."
In October, the Qashqai proved the most popular new car with 138 sold. In total in the UK, 1.9m new cars were registered in the first 10 months, up 10% on last year.