All new cars bought in Ireland will have a new number plate. For example, instead of 13-D, the new number plate will be 131-D.

Alan Nolan, Director General of the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI), said: "While it is too early to tell how new car sales are doing, there certainly has been a lot of interest from the public in the new number plate.

"Only time will tell what impact the new plate might have on sales, but we expect demand to increase when we begin to see new cars on the road."

This new format plate will be in place each year from now on.

In addition, SIMI has just released new car sales figures for 2012: new car sales are down 12% on 2011 at 79,498.