EVs and hybrids top new car sales for 2022 but chip shortages continue to hinder market

Ongoing chip shortages are likely to hit new car supplies this year
EVs and hybrids top new car sales for 2022 but chip shortages continue to hinder market

Michael McAleer

Electric and hybrid cars accounted for 42.4 per cent of all new car sales in 2022, outselling either petrol or diesel rivals.

New car registrations rose 0.3 per cent last year, with 105,253 sales, according to industry figures.

However, the market is suffering from global supply issues due to semiconductor shortages, impacting on the production of new cars. It has led to significant delivery delays for many new models.

All-electric models accounted for 14.9 per cent of new car registrations with 15,678 sales, up 81 per cent on last year. Regular hybrids made up 19.3 per cent of the new car market, and plug-in hybrids 8.2 per cent. Normal petrol models came to 30 per cent of the market, while diesel sales were 26.8 per cent.

In December, the Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said the Government is “on track” to reach its target of having 950,000 electric vehicles by the end of the decade. According to the Irish Bulletin of Vehicle and Driver Statistics, on December 31st, 2021 there were 23,333 all-electric vehicles on the Irish fleet.

Ongoing supply issues are impacting on the increase in EV sales. An average mid-sized new car – particularly an advanced all-electric model - can require over 1,000 computer chips, but chipmakers have warned the ongoing supply issues are unlikely to abate this year.

Hassane El-Khoury, chief executive of US-based chipmaker Onsemi, told the Financial Times last month that it had already “sold out” of silicon carbide chips (SiC), advanced power semiconductors largely used in electric cars, at least to the end of 2023 because of strong demand.

“There’s nothing you can do now to change 2023,” the boss of one of the world’s leading auto chipmakers said. “We will be adding capacity every quarter, every month in 2023 to meet our customer demand.” 

Jochen Hanebeck, chief executive of auto chip producer Infineon, made a similar warning about supplies at an event in Munich recently. “I do expect quite a long-time shortage,” he said. Carmakers are also bracing themselves for problems. Carlos Tavares, chief executive of Stellantis, the world’s fourth-largest automaker by sales, has said chip constraints will continue to haunt the auto industry next year.

Carlos Tavares, chief executive of Stellantis, the world’s fourth largest carmaker with brands including Opel, Peugeot, Fiat and Jeep, said chip constraints will continue to haunt the auto industry next year.

Toyota was the best-selling car brand, with 16,051 registrations, ahead of Hyundai with 12,709, Volkswagen with 11,739 and Kia with 7,942. Audi was the best-selling premium brand with 4,333 registrations for the year, ahead of BMW with 4,088 and Mercedes-Benz with 3,769.

The Hyundai Tucson was the best-selling car with 6,432 registrations, ahead of Toyota’s Corolla with 4,179 and the Kia Sportage with 3,532.

The ongoing supply shortage impacted on the car rental market, with hire drive registrations in 2022 down 40 per cent to 4,851 compared to the previous year. The car rental market now accounts for just 4.6 per cent of new registrations. Prior to Covid and the chip shortages, in 2019 hire drive registrations were 18,352, equivalent to 15.7 per cent of the new car market that year.

In the commercial vehicle, market, a bellwether of national economic activity, sales of light commercial vehicles – vans – were down 17.7 per cent, with 23,653 sales. Ford was the best-selling brand 5,890 registrations, ahead of Volkswagen with 2,949 sales.

Sales of heavy goods vehicles were down 8.14 per cent, with 2,494 registrations.

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