FAMILIES are back buying cars in big numbers, sending sales surging by 33pc in one of the strongest indications yet of growing consumer confidence, writes Eddie Cunningham.
Official figures for January reveal that 22,927 new cars were registered – an increase on the 17,242 for January 2012.
The real difference this year is that there has been a significant rise in the number of private – as opposed to corporate – sales.
And that is seen as reflecting a feeling among buyers that things are picking up.
The market has been dependent on business deals and pre-registrations to tick over for the past few years.
The figures, published by SIMI, reflect on-the-ground optimism in dealerships where the number of people visiting and taking test drives has gone up substantially.
SIMI director general Alan Nolan said: "It is very early days but there is a strong sense that we're now beginning to move upwards. It's nice to be able to say that for the first time since 2008."
The top three selling models were the Volkswagen Golf, Toyota Corolla and Ford Focus.