Business

New car sales continued to struggle during September amid semiconductor shortage

The figures come as one of the north's biggest car dealers Charles Hurst revealed its turnover fell by £110 million during 2020.

A total of 30,247 new cars have been sold in the north during the first three quarters of 2021, representing one of the worst years on record for the industry.

THE supply issues linked to the global semiconductor shortage continued to plague the car industry during September, according to the latest data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The industry body said 3,449 new vehicles were registered in Northern Ireland last month.

Although an improvement on the 2,702 sold during August, September sales were 31 per cent down on the same month last year.

A total of 30,247 new cars have been sold in the north during the first three quarters of 2021, representing one of the worst years on record for the industry and just seven per cent up on the lockdown-hit catastrophe of 2020.

The SMMT said last month was the weakest September for the UK car industry since 1998, with sales of diesel motors plunging by 77 per cent year-on-year.

However, despite the global chip shortage, September 2021 was still the best month ever for new battery electric vehicle (BEV) uptake. With a market share now reaching 15.2 per cent.

The SMMT said the Nissan Qashqai was the best-selling new car in Northern Ireland during September, with 109 sold, just ahead of the Volkswagen Golf (106), Hyundai Tucson (103), Kia Sportage (89) and Volkswagen Polo (78).

The figures come as one of the north’s biggest car dealers Charles Hurst revealed its turnover fell by £110 million during 2020.

In a report filed with Companies House, Charles Hurst said the impact of lockdowns took its revenues down 17 per cent to £550m for the year ending December 31 2020.

Part of the Lookers group for the past 25 years, Charles Hurst’s performance was better than the group as a whole, which recorded a 23 per cent fall in revenue during 2020.

Charles Hurst remained profitable in Northern Ireland during 2020, but pre-tax profits fell 57 per cent to £2.3m.

The report revealed the car dealer received just over £4m in furlough support during 2020, helping it cut staff costs by a total of £5.5m last year.

The report also showed that the car dealer had cut its workforce by 73 to 950 at the end of 2020.

Lookers plc recently announced that it would repay the furlough cash it received during the first half of 2021, in line with its improved financial performance. 

Charles Hurst has also last month announced plans to recruit 25 new technicians, mostly at its Boucher Road site in Belfast.

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