New car sales rose slightly last month, according to figures from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry, however they remain 6.3% lower in the year to date.

A total of 1,696 cars were sold in October, 2.3% higher than the number sold in the same month of last year.

That brings the number of vehicles sold between January and October to 73,395; 4,980 or 6.3% fewer than in the same period of 2012.

Sales in the second half of the year have been boosted by the introduction of a split-year registration system, which brings in a new registration category in January and July of each year.

However this increase was not strong enough to counter the drop in sales in the first six months of 2013, which is traditionally when most cars are sold.

During October the top selling car brand was Volkswagen, with its Golf also being the best-selling model.

More than 72% of cars sold were diesel, continuing a trend that has been in place since the introduction of the Co2-based motor tax system.

However petrol models have reclaimed some ground with 26.5% of sales so far this year, compared to 23.3% in 2012.