New figures from the Central Statistics Office highlight the continued growth in the number of electric and hybrid vehicles licensed in Ireland.
Despite the drop of 11% in the overall number of new cars licensed in the first three months of 2021, the number of new hybrid and electric cars licensed accounted for 32.2% of all new cars licensed.
The CSO said the number of new electric cars licensed from January to March 2021 grew by 54.8% from 1,495 to 2,314.
New Plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) cars licensed more than doubled - increasing by 142% - in the first three months of 2021 compared with the same time last year.
For March, the CSO said a total of 10,672 new private cars were licensed during the month, an increase of 4.2% compared with the same time last year.
The number of used, or imported, private cars licensed increased by 18.1% compared with March 2020, the CSO added.
Today's CSO figures show that Toyota was the most popular make of new private cars licensed in the first quarter of 2021, followed by Hyundai, Volkswagen, Ford and Skoda.
These five makes represent 52.3% of all new private cars licensed in the first three months of the year.
In March, the most popular new private car model was the Hyundai Tucson, the CSO added.
Meanwhile, diesel vehicles accounted for 36.3% of all new private cars licensed in the first quarter of 2021, compared with 43.6% the same time last year.
Diesel vehicles represented 59.8% of used (imported) private cars licensed in the three months from January to March, down from 67.5% last year.
The CSO also said that 80.3% of new private cars licensed in the first quarter of 2021 were in the A/B CO2 emissions band.