The number of new cars licensed in August rose by 2.2% compared to the same month last year, the latest Central Statistics Office figures show. 

The CSO said this marked the first month since the onset of the Covid-19 crisis that the number of new cars licensed increased on an annual basis.

A total of 7,360 new private cars were licensed in August, but the number of used or imported private cars licensed decreased by 13.8% to 2,247 compared to the same month in 2019.

The CSO also reported a decrease of 10.1% in the number of new goods vehicles licensed in August, bringing the total to 2,247.

In the first eight months of the year, a total of 71,873 new private cars were licensed - down 30.6% compared with the same time last year. 

The number of used or imported private cars licensed also fell by 38.9% compared with the first eight months of 2019.

The CSO noted that electric and hybrid cars continue to grow in popularity and these vehicles accounted for 19.1% of new private cars licensed in the first eight months of 2020 compared with 12.5% last year. 

The number of new hybrid cars licensed between January and August grew by 8.2% despite an overall drop in new cars licensed, the CSO added.

Today's figures show that Volkswagen was the most popular make of new private car licensed in August followed by Skoda, Ford, Hyundai and Kia. 

Together these five makes represent 46.5% of all new private cars licensed during the month.



In the first eight months of 2020, the CSO said that 43.4% of all new private cars licensed were diesel, compared with 46.6% during the same time last year.

The CSO said that comparing today's figures with the recently published Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) figures, it is important to note that 63.7% of new cars licensed in August of this year were registered before August.

The monthly licensing figures (CSO) and the registration figures (SIMI) differ due to the different dates on which a vehicle is registered (number plate) and licensed (tax disc). 

A vehicle may be registered by a dealership in advance of a sale, and vehicles which are registered in a given month may not be licensed until a later month.