New car sales were almost 20% higher in August than in the same month last year, according to figures from motor industry body SIMI.

Nearly 3,700 new cars were sold last month, according to the figures, 600 higher than in August 2012.

However that still leaves new car sales almost 7.7% lower for the year so far, despite a significant rise in sales in July following the introduction of the ‘132’ licence plate.

SIMI’s director general Alan Nolan called on Minister for Finance Michael Noonan to “construct a Budget that encouraged consumer spending” to help stem the losses of the motor industry.

According to SIMI’s figures, August’s best-selling car make was Volkswagen, while the BMW 5 Series was the best-selling model.

Almost 61% of cars sold so far this year fit within the A band for Co2 emissions, while 72.5% of all vehicles sold were diesel models.