Chip shortage continuing to constrain supply of new cars in Northern Ireland

The SMMT said the global semiconductor shortage is continuing to decimate the supply of new cars.

SALES of new cars in Northern Ireland continue to languish well below pre-pandemic levels, the latest industry data shows.

Figures compiled by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show 36,616 new cars were registered here in the whole of 2021, just 425 more than in 2020, which was one of the worst years on record for the industry.

Sales in 2021 remained 29 per cent down on 2019, meaning around 30,000 fewer new cars on the north's roads over the past two years.

The SMMT said the continuing global shortage of semiconductor chips has been the major factor in limiting the supply of new models in 2021.

The chip shortage and the surge in Omicron cases resulted in one of the worst December's on record for the industry, with just 1,264 new cars sold, 26.3 per cent below December 2020.

The SMMT data revealed no model surpassed 1,000 sales in Northern Ireland during 2021, with the best-selling car – the Hyundai Tucson – clocking up 958 sales, well ahead of the rest of the pack, which included the Volkswagen Golf (781), Ford Focus (776), Volkswagen T-Roc (748) and the Nissan Qashqai (744).

Despite the torrid sales of the past 12 months, the SMMT said 2021 was still the most successful year on record for electric motors.

While it did not publish regional data, the industry body said one-in-six new cars registered in the UK last year were plug-ins, with more battery electric vehicles registered in 2021 than 2016-2020 combined.

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