Ireland’s new-car sales jumped 19.6% in August to 3,698 units as momentum from the introduction of midyear number-plate updates continued to boost the market.

The Society of the Irish Motor Industry data shows year-to-date results still were down 7.7%, to 68,544 units, despite the sharp rise in demand in the past two months.

SIMI Director General Alan Nolan says July, up 162%, and August accounted for 22% of new-car deliveries so far this year, compared with 10% in like-2012.

“The new plate is spreading sales, which was the main aim of its introduction,” Nolan says in a statement.

With the government budget now only seven weeks away, it is important that it include measures to assist retail businesses, including the motor industry, he says.

“We’ll be asking the minister to construct a budget that encourages consumer spending, and we will be putting forward proposals on incentives that will help increase new-car sales and their associated tax revenues.”

Volkswagen topped the new-car car market in August, up 0.02% to 483 sales, ahead of BMW, up 78.9%, and Skoda, up 57.0%, tied at 347 units. Ford moved into fourth place, up 21.5% to 317, ahead of Toyota, down 19.7% to 309.

VW also led the year-to-date figures, down 7.8% to 8,713 units through the first eight months, ahead of Toyota, down 23.8% to 7,413, and Ford, down 11.9% to 7,063.

The VW Golf was the best-selling model through August, up 7.6% to 3,397 units, ahead of the Nissan Qashqai, down 10.2% to 2,866; Ford Focus, down 23.9% to 2,669; and Ford Fiesta, up 10.7% to 2,243.

Light-commercial deliveries rose 15% in August to 818 units, leaving the 8-month total down 2.2% to 9,048 units. Ford led the segment year-to-date, up 5.2% to 2,084. The Ford Transit was the best-selling model, up 7.2% to 1,143.