Electric and hybrid vehicles accounted for about one fifth of new private cars licensed in January compared with 11.6% the same time in 2019, new figures from the Central Statistics Office show.

Today's CSO figures also show that the number of new private cars licensed for the first time fell by 7.2% to 20,665 in January compared to the same month last year. 

The number of used, or imported private cars licensed last month also decreased, falling by 5.5% to 7,683.

Meanwhile, the total number of new vehicles licensed during January was 24,545, down 6.9% on the 26,374 licensed the same time last year.

Today's licensing figures also show that Toyota (3,329) was the most popular make of new private car licensed followed by Hyundai (2,235), Volkswagen (1,912), Ford (1,647) and Skoda (1,611). 

Together these five makes represent 51.9% of all new private cars licensed in January.

Diesel vehicles accounted for 41% of all new private cars licensed in January, compared with 48.5% the same period last year, the CSO figures also show. 

The CSO noted that licensing and registration are different processes. 

A car is licensed when a valid motor tax disc is issued for the first time whereas registration occurs when a car gets its licence plate, or registration number, for the first time.