The number of new cars licensed for the first time in November fell by 12.4% compared to the same time last year, new figures from the Central Statistics Office show. 

A total of 1,468 new cars were licensed for the first time in November compared to 1,676 the same month last year, the CSO figures reveal.

The monthly decrease follows two months of strong growth. 

The CSO said the number of new cars licensed in the first 11 months of 2020 was 83,277 compared to 112,576 in 2019 -  a fall of 26% - as a result of the very low numbers licensed during the peak of the Covid-19 crisis earlier this year.

Despite the drop of 26% in the overall number of new cars licensed from January to November, the CSO said the number of new hybrid and electric cars licensed in that period now exceeds the number licensed for all of 2019 by 14.5%. 

The number of new electric cars licensed in the first 11 months of the year grew by 16.4% from 3,313 to 3,855. 

There were 12,572 new hybrid cars licensed in the first eleven months of the year, compared with 10,860 with the same time in 2019.

Meanwhile, the number of used (imported) private cars licensed decreased by 20.1% compared with the same time in 2019, while they were 31% lower for the first 11 months of the year. 

Volkswagen was the most popular make of new private car licensed in November followed by Skoda, Toyota, Renault and Ford. Together these five makes represent 44.8% of all new private cars licensed last month.

Today's CSO figures also show that in the first eleven months of 2020, 42.9% of all new private cars licensed were diesel, compared with 47% the same time for 2019. 



Of new private cars licensed in the same period, 94.5% were in the A/B CO2 emissions bands, the CSO added.

New figures from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry earlier this month shows that that new car sales rose by 20% in November when compared to the same month last year, however registrations year to date remain 25% lower on the same period in 2019.

The CSO's monthly licensing figures and the registration figures from 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.