Belfast Telegraph

Volkswagen sales slide in Northern Ireland but Golf is motoring ahead of rivals

By Rachel Martin

Sales of Volkswagen's most popular cars dropped in Northern Ireland in the wake of the firm's recent emissions scandal.

Data released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders showed that the number of new Volkswagen Polos sold in October dropped by two-thirds.

One hundred and seventy six fewer new Polos were sold during October, while 66 fewer new Golfs were shifted during the same month.

So far this year, more than 1,500 new Golfs and 1,400 new Polo cars have been registered here.

However, September's most popular car, the Ford Fiesta, also saw a drop on the previous month.

It meant that despite the German car giant's ongoing troubles, the Golf was the most popular new car model in Northern Ireland in October.

The number of new car sales halved here compared to the month before. However, the number of new cars sold here was similar to the same time last year.

The Seat Ibiza, also produced by Volkswagen Group, dropped off the top 10 car registrations chart completely, as did the Renault Clio and Toyota Yaris.

The trend was reflected across the rest of the UK, where new Seat, Skoda and Volkswagen car sales were down by 10% on the same time last year, causing a slip in each of the brands' market shares.

Seat had the biggest drop in sales, down 32% compared to this time last year.

Out of the four Volkswagen Group brands, Audi was the only one to avoid a tumble, with a slight rise in its share of the market of 0.25%.

The number of cars sold by the luxury brand also increased by 2.24% in October 2015 compared to the same period last year.

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

The internal investigation carried out by the company 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 it suggested that some petrol models could also be affected across its Volkswagen, Skoda, Audi and Seat ranges.

It comes just weeks after the firm admitted cheating in nitrogen oxide tests.

In September, the Volkswagen Polo was the second most popular car to be bought new. In October, it had dropped six places to number seven in the chart.

The Golf bucked trends to become the most popular car registered in October, up two from third in the chart.

In Northern Ireland, new cars represent a small part of the market. In 2014, almost 135,000 used Volkswagen Polos and just over 236,00 Volkswagen Golfs were sold here compared to just over 51,000 new cars of all makes.

Belfast Telegraph