The number of new private cars sold fell by 6.5% in February compared with the same time last year, new figures from the Central Statistics Office show.

A total of 13,263 new private cars were licensed last month, down 6.5% compared with February 2019. 

Today's figure is also 19.6% lower than the same month in 2018, the CSO noted. 

Meanwhile, the number of used, or imported, private cars licensed decreased by 18.3% compared with February 2019. 

The CSO said that in the first two months of 2019, a total of 33,928 new private cars were licensed, down 6.9% on the same time last year. 

The number of used cars licensed also slowed down by 12.1% compared with the same time in 2019.

Today's CSO figures show that 18% of new private cars licensed were hybrid or electric compared with 6.1% in February 2018. 

They also showed that electric and hybrid vehicles accounted for 16.7% of all private cars licensed in the first two months of this year, compared with 10.7% in the same time last year. 

Meanwhile, diesel vehicles accounted for 42.2% of all new private cars licensed in the first two months of 2020, compared with 48.4% in 2019.

Toyota (1,650) was the most popular make of new private cars licensed followed by Volkswagen (1,580), Hyundai (1,191), Skoda (1,134) and Nissan (943). 

Together these five makes represent 49% of all new private cars licensed last month.