Ireland’s motor trade is calling for ‘significant reduction’ in Vehicle Registration Tax in the upcoming Budget, to help the industry return to ‘normal sustainable levels’, writes Brian Byrne.

The plea comes as August registrations remain at ‘disappointing’ levels, bringing the year to date reduction in sales to 29pc compared to the same period in 2019.

Society of the Irish Motor Industry Director General Brian Cooke says the industry is now operating at the same business levels as 10 years ago, when the sector shed close to 15,000 jobs.

“The outlook for 2021 is not optimistic, with the negative impact of both Covid and Brexit, new car sales will continue at recession levels,” he says in a statement accompanying the August market statistics. “The Motor Industry in Ireland supports employment in local communities throughout the country and to protect these jobs it needs a fair taxation environment in which to operate.”

New car registrations for August were down 4.2pc (4,875) when compared to August 2019 (5,088). Light Commercials vehicles (LCV) are down 11pc (1,683) compared to August last year. Year to date used imports are down 45.1pc (39,672) on 2019 (72,214).