Belfast Telegraph

Pace picks up as 13% more new cars sold

By David Elliott

Further confirmation the Northern Ireland new car market has turned a corner has emerged from news that sales have jumped by 13% in the second quarter of the year.

Data from the Department of Environment (DoE) showed 13,900 new cars were registered here in the three months to the end of September and back up monthly statistics from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Overall first time registrations, which includes the importation of second hand vehicles, rose even more during the period, up 15% at 27,327.

That, according to the DoE note, could signal a more healthy economic outlook.

"This increase may, in part, be a sign of an improvement in economic conditions after a downturn in recent years," it said.

The Vehicle, Operator and Enforcement Statistics for the same period also showed a growing appetite to get behind the wheel, at least when it comes to the theory driving test.

Over 14,800 theory tests were taken, up 17% on last year, and in contrast to a drop of 9% in practical tests.

Of those tests 62% of males passed while compared to 51% of females.

The pass rate for practical tests stood steady at 56.5% while for vehicle tests over 80% of the 258,000 cars tested passed.

Belfast Telegraph