The latest figures from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry show that new car sales in June are down sharply compared to the same time last year.

SIMI said that new car sales fell 42% in June to 6,370 units from 11,007 in June 2011.

However, June of last year was the final month of the scrappage scheme, which saw over 4,000 cars sold under the scheme.

For the year to date, new car sales are down 13.5% to 66,657.

A total of 77,079 new cars were sold in the six months to June 2011 and SIMI's director general Alan Nolan said that this is likely to be very close to the overall total for the entire 12 months of this year.

''Business is extremely fragile and levels of activity ae set to reduce for the rest of the year, so protecting jobs will be a key challenge fo the sector in the months ahead,'' he warned.

The SIMI figures show that Toyota was the best selling brand so far this year, followed by Volkswagen and Ford. They also show that 74% of new cars sold are diesel, while 23% are petrol. Silver is the most popular colour for new cars.