New figures from the Central Statistics Office show the number of new cars that were licensed in August rose by 16.3% compared to the same time last year.

A total of 8,563 new private cars were licensed here last month, up from 7,360 in August 2020. The figure is also higher than the 7,202 new private cars licensed in August 2019.

The CSO said the number of used (imported) private cars licensed fell from 8,032 in August 2020 to 5,219 in August of this year.

But the number of used private cars licensed is still 4,101 lower in August 2021 than in August 2019, the CSO added.

In the first eight months of 2021, a total of 88,618 new private cars were licensed, an increase of 23% compared with the same time last year.

But the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic over the first eight months of 2021 is still visible as figures remain 14% lower compared to the same eight months in 2019, the CSO said.

July saw a total of 20,232 new cars sold to coincide with the introduction of the new 212 registration plate.

Today's figures show that electric and hybrid cars continue to grow in popularity as 33% of all new cars licensed in the first eight months of 2021 were electric and hybrid cars, compared with 19% of new cars licensed in the first eight months of 2020.

The CSO said that Volkswagen was the most popular make of new private car licensed in August, followed by Hyundai, Toyota, Kia and Skoda.

Together these five makes represent 48.4% of all new private cars licensed last month.

Meanwhile, in the first eight months of 2021, 34.4% of all new private cars licensed were diesel, compared with 43.4% the same time last year.

Of the new private cars licensed in the eight month period, 81.3% were in the A/B CO2 emissions bands.