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Revealed: The best selling cars in Northern Ireland - and VW is second and third

Traders celebrate 5% jump in sales in one month

By John Mulgrew

Car sales in Northern Ireland are witnessing a strong resurgence, rising by more than 5%.

The number of cars powering out of showrooms shot up in September, according to the latest figures form the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

And while the rise was only around half of that experienced in England, Northern Ireland's sales increased at a higher rate than both Wales and Scotland.

But most crucially, sales in Northern Ireland rose marginally by 0.6% year-on-year, which could be a sign of a turnaround in the motoring industry here.

A total of 6,727 cars were sold here last month, with 461,806 shifted across the UK as a whole.

The Ford Fiesta continues to lead the pack in the number of cars sold, with the Volkswagen Polo coming in second.

The figures for September are the highest for the month since 2007, according to Ulster Bank's chief economist Richard Ramsey.

He said: "The consumer has benefited in recent months from 'no-flation'. Things like falling food and energy prices, which has been coupled with wages increasing.

"Consumer disposable income is on the rise. What has been surprising up until now is that it hasn't fed through into new car sales.

"However, the September sales suggest that there are more tangible indications of improved sentiment."

According to Charles Hurst's operations director, Colin McNab, affordability is continuing to drive sales here.

"September is traditionally a strong month for new car sales in Northern Ireland and it's really good to see these figures reflect the good growth in inquiries which were generated over the summer," he said.

"Affordability continues to be the key driver for local sales and cheap petrol prices and the option of little or no tax when purchasing a new car is still making the buying process extremely attractive, particularly for smaller, more affordable vehicles.

"Coming into the winter, people also want the reassurance and the security which a new car can provide, and with such attractive finance deals on new cars available - from no deposit and low monthly payments - it can make more sense for many to buy new."

Mr Ramsey said the good news for Northern Ireland's motoring industry and overall economic outlook based on the sales bump could be down to "consumer spending receiving a tailwind" from a lack of inflation.

"That is going to last, potentially into spring 2016," he said. "But beyond that we will have issues such as welfare reform and changes to tax credits.

"The number of consumer-spending headwinds will become apparent as we move into spring next year."

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: "September is traditionally one of the year's biggest months for new car registrations, and last month set an autumn record."

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