New figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the number of new private cars licensed in February fell by 12% compared to the same time last year.

The CSO said that a total of 11,672 new private cars were licensed last month, down from the 13,263 new cars licenced the same time last year.

Today's figures also showed that the number of used (imported) private cars licensed decreased by 5.8% compared with February last year.

But today CSO figures show the continued growth in the number of electric and hybrid vehicles licensed in Ireland this year. 

Despite the drop of 15.6% in the overall number of new cars licensed in the first two months of 2021, the number of new hybrid and electric cars licensed in that period accounted for 31.9% of all new cars licensed. 

The number of new electric cars licensed from January to February grew by 28.9% from 1,018 to 1,309.

Meanwhile, new Plug-in hybrid electric cars licensed soared by 120.9% in the first two months of 2021 compared with the same time in 2020.

Today's CSO licensing figures show that Toyota was the most popular make of new private cars licensed followed by Volkswagen, Skoda, Hyundai  and Ford.

Together these five makes represent 52.3% of all new private cars licensed in February, the CSO said. 

In the first two months of 2021, 36.0% of all new private cars licensed were diesel, compared with 42.2% the same time in 2020. 

Of new private cars licensed so far this year, over 80% of new private cars licensed were in the A/B CO2 emissions bands, down from 94.4% the same time in 2020.