A total of 59,823 new private cars were licensed in the first six months of this year, an increase of 21.6% compared with the same time last year, new figures from the Central Statistics Office figures show.
But the CSO said the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic over the first half of 2021 is still visible as the sales figures remain 23% lower over the first six months of the year compared to 2019.
Today's figures show that the number of used or imported private cars licensed increased by 50.3% compared with the same time in 2020, but they are still 22.7% lower when compared to 2019.
The CSO said that electric and hybrid cars continue to grow in popularity.
31.9% of all new cars licensed in the first half of 2021 were electric and hybrid cars, compared with 18.7% of new cars licensed in the first half of 2020.
The CSO noted that the combined number of new electric and hybrid cars licensed in the first half of 2021 was 107.9% greater than those licensed in the same time in 2020.
It also noted that the popularity of motor caravans, which includes campervans, grew as more people are spending their holidays in Ireland rather than going abroad.
The number of motor caravans licensed in the first half of this year was over 79% greater than those licensed in the same time in 2019.
A total of 753 motor caravans were licensed in the first half of 2021, compared with 255 in the same time in 2020 and 420 in 2019.
Meanwhile, 4,980 new private cars were licensed in June of this year, compared with 2,189 in June last year.
The CSO said the number of new cars licensed in June is 29.1% higher than June 2019 when 3,858 cars were licensed.
The number of used private cars licensed rose from 3,738 in June 2020 to 5,900 in June this year, but the CSO said the number of used cars is still 2,098 lower in June 2021 than in June 2019.
Today's CSO figures reveal that in the first half of 2021, 36.2% of all new private cars licensed were diesel, compared with 44% for the same time in 2020. Of new private cars licensed in the same period, 80.3% were in the A/B CO2 emissions bands.
Volkswagen was the most popular make of new private car licensed in June followed by Skoda, Toyota, Hyundai and Kia, the CSO said.
Together these five makes represent 51.9% of all new private cars licensed in June, it added.