New car sales decline as sector urges support for electric vehicles

Sales of EVs doubled last month although petrol and diesel cars still dominate

EVs, plug-in hybrids and hybrids continue to rise in popularity, with a combined market share now of 44 per cent

New car sales fell 12.2 per cent in February and are 21.9 per cent below pre-Covid levels, data shows.

So far this year, new car registrations are down 4.6 per cent, according to figures compiled by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (Simi).

There were 12,031 new registrations last month compared to 13,698 in February 2021. Registrations for the first two months of 2022 stand at 37,058 as against 38,838 a year earlier.

Used car imports are down 33.9 per cent for February to 3,807, compared to 5,758 for the same month in 2021. Year-to-date imports are 37.6 per cent lower, with 7,848 registered in January and February compared to 12,579 in the prior year.


Last month some 1,620 new electric vehicles (EVs) were registered, as against 805 in February 2021. So far this year 4,320 new electric cars have been registered in comparison to 1,782 in the same period in 2021.


EVs, plug-in hybrids and hybrids continue to rise in popularity, with a combined market share now of 44 per cent.

Despite a significant decrease in market share for internal combustion engine-type vehicles, petrol remains dominant at 27.39 per cent, with diesel accounting for 25.92 per cent of registrations.

Hybrid sales are at 24.23 per cent, with electric and plug-in hybrids at 11.66 per cent and 8.01 per cent respectively.

"Despite strong demand for new and used cars, supply continues to be a major issue, with any potential recovery unlikely to happen until the second half of 2022 at the earliest," said Simi director general Brian Cooke. "Despite this challenge, the number of new electric cars continues to grow, with registrations doubling for the month of February when compared with the same month last year,"

He said there are now more than 50,000 electric vehicles on Irish roads and increasing interest from consumers in buying them.

“It is essential that our charging infrastructure keeps pace with this acceleration in the electrification of the Irish car fleet,” Mr Cooke said. “In this context, ongoing support from Government in the charging network is vital if we are to convince more consumers that an electric vehicle is a viable choice of car for their driving needs,” he added.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist