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Northern Ireland’s car market slumps in crunch

Sales fallen more than in other British nations

New cars sales have fallen across Britain

New cars sales have fallen across Britain

Northern Ireland’s car market has been worst affected by the economic downturn, detailed figures show, with new car registrations down 13.4% over the year to date.

By the end of August, just 44,912 new cars had been sold, compared with 51,866 at the same point in 2007.

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show Scotland was also badly hit, with registrations falling 6.3% during the worst August for new car sales since 1966.

English and Welsh car markets didn’t escape the slump either, with sales down 3.2% and 3% respectively.

The startling figures account for a 3.8% drop in new car sales across Britain, which the SMMT is blaming on a lack of consumer confidence.

‘There is a clear need for sustained action by government to boost the economy and restore confidence,’ said SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt.

Most popular cars

Small, efficient superminis account for the bulk of new cars sold, as drivers look to cut motoring costs.

Vauxhall’s Corsa has sold best in Scotland over the year to date, with more than 7,000 units shifted, and the Ford Fiesta remains the most popular new car in Wales – out-selling its nearest rival by more than a thousand.

The Ford Focus is 2008’s top-seller in England, Northern Ireland and Britain as a whole, with almost 72,000 sold over the year to date.

A poll conducted earlier this year found Ford was the nation’s favourite carmaker.

Seventeen per cent of Britons are thought to own one – just ahead of Vauxhall, which has 14% of the market. 

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