Scottish car sales stalled in 2015 because of the oil and gas industry downturn, a trade association for motor dealers north of the border said yesterday.
While the UK figure for new car registrations raced ahead to more than 2.6million, the Scottish total fell slightly to 220,554 – down from 221,570 in 2014.
December sales in Scotland and Northern Ireland during December were down by 10.51% and 3.23% respectively, in stark contrast to increases for England and Wales.
Scottish Motor Trade Association chief executive Sandy Burgess said: “While there is no doubt we are disappointed to note that new car registrations for 2015 narrowly missed producing another record year, a small decline on last year’s total of 0.46% should be taken in full context as in the result for 2014 were an all-time record for Scottish registrations.
“The results confirm that the previous four years of consecutive growth have stalled predominately as a result of significant impact of global oil and gas industry slowdown in the north-east of Scotland.
“Private share has held up at a fantastic high of 51.73%. This confirms that yet again the Scottish consumer is enjoying driving the newest, cleanest, safest and most efficient vehicles available.
“With current levels of strong consumer and business confidence, we are confident that the outlook remains positive and there is every reason to expect the market to hold broadly steady in 2016.”
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said the UK total for new car sales last year beat the previous record of 2.58million set in 2003.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said high consumer confidence, wage growth and low-interest finance deals encouraged motorists to buy new cars.
The fourth consecutive year of growth means sales have exceeded their pre-recession levels after dipping below 2million in both 2009 and 2011.