Scottish new car sales shift into reverse gear

Ford's Fiesta topped the sales chart in Scotland last month. Picture: Contributed
Ford's Fiesta topped the sales chart in Scotland last month. Picture: Contributed
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New car sales in Scotland reversed last month while UK-wide there was a modest year-on-year gain, industry figures revealed today.

The Scottish Motor Trade Association (SMTA) figures show that there were 14,619 registrations in Scotland in April, down by about 5 per cent on a year earlier. Across the UK, sales grew by 2 per cent to 189,505.

Euan Murray, relationship director at Barclays Corporate Banking in Scotland, said: “The dip in private sales is something manufacturers and sellers will have to keep an eye on, but there shouldn’t be any undue cause for concern, especially given the period of growth we had been experiencing.

“We might now observe a run of more measured numbers, but as long as the industry remains focused on the fundamentals such as ensuring good margins for sellers and adapting to changing consumer demands, it should still be on track for a positive overall result in 2016.”

The Ford Fiesta was the best seller on both sides of the Border. The Vauxhall Corsa, typically the best seller in Scotland most months, came in at 11th place.

READ MORE: New car sales cruise to 11-year high in January

SMTA chief executive Sandy Burgess said: “There continues to be a degree of tactical registrations by certain manufacturers which can distort the market reporting and the impact of such actions can reflect more when comparing our predominantly retail market to the rest of the UK, which is more fleet driven.”

He added: “Footfall has tailed off in recent weeks, which we would suggest is understandable given the activity levels of hopeful politicians seeking to gain entry to Holyrood. Now that this situation has been resolved we anticipate some degree of normality returning to the market, recognising that we do however have another EU referendum on the horizon.

“We are very optimistic for the Scottish market matching or even exceeding 2015’s outstanding result.”

In the year to date, Scottish sales are up almost 1 per cent on the equivalent 2015 period.

SCOTLAND’S BEST-SELLING CARS IN APRIL

1. Ford Fiesta – 589

2. Ford Focus – 458

3. Vauxhall Astra – 425

4. Volkswagen Polo – 393
5. Fiat 500 – 369

6. Volkswagen Golf – 356

7. Vauxhall Mokka – 293

8. Audi A3 – 257

9. Hyundai Tucson – 254

10. Nissan Qashqai – 245

Source: Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders