New car sales fall throughout Scotland in April

NEW car sales fell throughout Scotland in April for the first time in years, in contrast to a UK-wide upturn in demand.

Registrations dipped by more than five per cent year-on-year to 14,619, compared to 15,401 in April in 2015.

The downturn in sales was mirrored across Scotland, with Central, Tayside and the Highlands in particular recording year-on-year decreases of 12-13 per cent.

The figures north of the Border contrasted with continued growth in new car sales for the UK as a whole.

However, overall Scottish registrations for the year to date are still slightly higher than they were at this point in 2015.

Sandy Burgess, chief executive of the Scottish Motor Trade Association (SMTA), said: “Unusually we have experienced a cooling off in all regions, this is something we have not seen for many years.

“The reductions however are in most cases minimal, Lothian recording a 0.70 per cent drop whilst Central lost the most ground with a 13.6 per cent fall off. Despite this we are still up almost one per cent on 2015 numbers whereas the rest of the UK has reported a growth of 4.55 per cent year to date.”

Mr Burgess added that the run-up to the election is believed to be a factor in reduced footfall at showrooms.

He said: “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.”

Scotland’s favourite cars so far this year continue to be the Corsa, Fiesta and Astra, although there has also been a strong recovery for Volkswagen sales in Scotland.

Audi, BMW and Mercedes are also among the most popular brands for Scots motorists.

In the UK as a whole, demand for alternative-fuel vehicles, such as electric and hybrid cars, was up 27 per cent year-on-year in April with more than three in every 100 new cars sold in the UK now AFVs.

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