Northern Ireland

New car sales in Northern Ireland drop in 2018

New cars Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The decline in sales across the whole UK was much greater than in Northern Ireland

New car sales in Northern Ireland fell by just over 3% in 2018, according to industry figures.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said 52,533 new cars were registered in 2018, down from 54,356 the previous year.

In the UK as a whole the sales decline was larger, down by almost 7%.

The SMMT said factors influencing lower sales included uncertainty over Brexit and a shortage of some vehicles due to a new emissions testing scheme.

In Northern Ireland the two most popular models were the Ford Fiesta and Ford Kuga.

The Fiesta was also the best seller for the UK as a whole.

Across the UK diesel sales sank by 30% on worries over possible tougher restrictions.

However, the move away from diesel cars contributed to a 3% rise in the average emissions of CO2 by new cars last year.

Diesel cars typically produce less CO2 than petrol vehicles.

A customer switch towards bigger cars, in particular SUVs, also contributed to greater average CO2 emissions.

While diesel cars produce less CO2 than petrol cars, they produce higher levels of nitrogen oxides or NOx, which are associated with breathing difficulties.

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