It is normally the second highest sales period in any given year, but new car registrations for July were down 17.3% when compared to July 2021, according to figures released by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry.

Brian Cooke, Director General SIMI, described the figures as disappointing. "This means the new car market is now 4% behind year to date and 17% behind pre-Covid 2019."

There were 21,902 new cars registrations for July, 11% below pre-Covid levels in 2019. Registrations for the year to date are down 3.6% (87,075) on the same period last year.

The electric vehicle segment continues to grow, both in quantum and as a proportion of the new car market, with an 80% year on year growth and a market share of 13%.

For the month of July 2,738 new electric vehicles were registered compared to 1,895 in July 2021. So far this year 11,182 new electric cars have been registered in comparison to 6,225 on the same time in 2021 - an increase of 79.6%.

While it appears that there is appetite among consumers for both new and used cars, supply issues are hampering overall activity, Mr Cooke said.

"The impact of this is another year of below par performance in the Irish new car market, which results in the Irish car fleet continuing to get older," he said. "The underlying new car market needs to grow significantly over the next few years if we are to optimise transport emission reductions."

He said government policies must contain the right measures, to support and encourage the change to lower and zero emitting vehicles.

"Reducing EV supports or increasing taxation will only act as a barrier to change and add to the cost of living," Mr Cooke said.

"In this context, SIMI is asking the Government to continue its support for the EV project by extending EV supports at current levels out to 2025 and to resist any VRT increases in Budget 2023 which will only prove counterproductive and prevent us dealing with the legacy fleet in an effective manner that supports a just transition," he added.