The Society of the Irish Motor Industry has called on the Government to extend electric vehicle supports in this month's Budget.

SIMI said while new car sales showed some improvement during the month of August, year to date sales are still marginally behind last year and 14% behind pre-Covid 2019 levels, with supply chain issues still hampering both the new and used car markets

SIMI's director general Brian Cooke said the sale of new electric vehicles continues to be the one positive feature of the overall market, with year on year growth of 80%.

But he said it needs to be underlined that we are still in the very early stages of the electric vehicle project, and we have a long way to go to meet the challenging targets in the Government's Climate Action Plan.

"In this context it is essential that Government supports both consumers and businesses by extending EV incentives at current levels in the forthcoming Budget," he said.

"By doing this we can help secure a greater supply of EVs for the Irish market, increase new EV sales in the short term and create an active used EV market, which will make an electric vehicle affordable to a wider constituency of motorists," he said.

"In addition, if we want to speed up the removal of the oldest highest emitting vehicles from the national fleet, Government should refrain from any further taxation increases," he said.

"This would encourage activity in both the new and used car markets, allowing motorists to trade up to a cleaner new or newer more fuel-efficient car," he added.

Today's SIMI figures show that new car registrations for August were up 36.7% to 8,157 when compared to August 2021's levels of 5,966.

But registrations so far this year are down 1.2% on the same time last year and are 14% behind that of pre-Covid levels.

SIMI said that 1,493 new electric vehicles were registered last month compared to 824 in August of last year.

So far this year 12,665 new electric cars have been registered compared to 7,049 on the same time in 2021 - an increase of 80%.

SIMI said that electric vehicle, plug-in hybrids and hybrids continue to increase their market share, with a combined market share now of 40.41%.

Petrol continues to remain dominant with 30.09% of car sales, while diesel accounts for 27.2%, hybrid 20.32%, electric 13.31% and plug-in electric hybrid 6.78%.

Today's figures also show that used car imports for August were down 6.3% on the same time last year. Year to date imports are down 28.4% to 33,084 from 46,186.

The top selling car in August was the Volkswagen ID.4, SIMI said.

The five top selling car brands year to date are Toyota, Hyundai, Volkswagen, Kia and Skoda.

Meanwhile, the top five car models sold so far this year are the Hyundai Tucson, the Toyota Corolla, the Kia Sportage, the Toyota C-HR, 5 and the Toyota RAV 4.