The number of used cars that have been imported to Ireland so far this year has increased by 17.3% on the same period last year, according to figures released today by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry.

The number of new cars registered so far this year remains down on the same period last year.

The figures show that the total new car registrations for the month of February were steady, as registrations were very much in line (17,081) when compared to February 2017 (17,089), while new cars registrations are down 3.5% in the year to date.

New Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) registrations were up 6.13% (2,634) on February 2017 (2,487) and year to date are up 6% (9,356).

While New Heavy Commercial Vehicles (HGV) have declined 10% for the month of February (243) compared to the same month last year (270) and are down 11% (646) year to date.

Alan Nolan, SIMI Director General, said, " The increase in the light commercial vehicle sector reflects the strong economic growth for businesses, particularly in the local economy, while HGVs which may be more impacted by Brexit concerns, remain down 11%.

"The Brexit impact is also visible in the continued growth in used car imports which were 15.7% up in February. The Diesel market share is continuing to move back toward more traditional levels in new car sales, having reached an artificially high peak of 73% in 2014, it is currently standing at 57% so far in 2018. As a consequence of this shift, as SIMI had previously indicated, the average CO2 emissions for new cars registered this year have increased by 2.1%."