New car sales improve in August, but industry still 29% behind pre-Covid levels

Northern Ireland’s NEW car dealers sold 11% more cars last month compared to August 2021, but total sales in 2022 remained nearly a third below pre-covid levels.

Some 2,998 new cars were registered in the north last month, up 296 from August 2021.

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed a total of 26,896 new engines were sold here in the first eight months of 2022, just 98 cars (0.37%) above the same period in 2021, which was one of the worst years on record for new car registrations.

Ulster Bank chief economist Richard Ramsey said sales for the period January to August were 29 per cent below the pre-Covid average, equivalent to around 11,000 vehicles from less.

UK-wide, new car registrations edged up 1.36%, ending five consecutive monthly declines.

August is traditionally one of the quietest months of the year for the industry in Britain, as many buyers choose to wait until new GB number plates are released in September.

SMMT Managing Director Mike Hawes said: “Soaring energy costs and inflation in addition to continued supply chain challenges are adding even more pressure to the post-pandemic recovery. automotive industry, and we urgently need the new Prime Minister to meet these challenges and restore confidence and sustainable growth.

“With September traditionally a bumper time for new car adoption, next month will be the true barometer of the industry’s recovery as it accelerates the transition to zero-emissions mobility despite myriad challenges.”

According to SMMT, the Hyundai Tucson was the top-selling new model in the north in August, with dealers moving 103 vehicles. It was followed by the Ford Kuga (100), Ford Puma (95), Dacia Sandero (93) and Ford Focus (81).