New car registrations for 2021 were up 19%, according to statistics published by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry.
Total new car registrations for 2021 finished at 104,932. Registrations were down 10.4% on 2019 figures.
New Light Commercial Vehicle registrations in 2021 saw an increase of 32.3% compared to 2020. They were also 13.4% higher than 2019.
New Heavy Commercial Vehicle registrations saw an increase of 31.5% in comparison to 2020, and an increase of 2.1% on 2019.
There were 63,617 registrations of Imported Used Cars, a decrease of 20.4% on 2020 and a decrease of 44.2% on 2019.
A total of 8,646 new electric cars were registered in 2021, an increase on the 4,013 registrations seen in 2020 and 3,444 in 2019.
Other stats of note show a changing market place in 2021.
Diesel accounted for 33.44% of sales, petrol 32.16%, hybrid 16.22%, electric 8.24%, and plug-in hybrid 7.26%.
Diesel remains the most popular engine type despite a decline of 9.8% in its market share last year while hybrid, electric and plug-in hybrid continue to gain market share in 2021.
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The hatchback remains Ireland's top selling car body type of 2021.
Grey is the top selling colour and has continued to keep that title for the past six years.
Brian Cooke, SIMI Director General, said the difficulties arising from both Covid-19 and Brexit impacted on the supply and demand for cars, which made 2021 another challenging year for the Irish motor industry.
"While new car sales show a 19% increase on 2020, they remain behind 2019 levels," Mr Cooke said.
"On a positive note, the sale of Electric Vehicles more than doubled in 2021, and with the sale of EVs being underpinned by SEAI Grants, we can expect to see an increasing number of new EVs on Irish roads in 2022. Commercial Vehicles sales also saw a significant improvement in 2021, with light commercial vehicles up over 30% on 2020, reflecting the increase in business confidence as the year progressed."
He said the industry is hopeful that 2022 will see further improvements in business levels. "Pre-orders do indicate a strong appetite for new and used cars, providing a positive outlook for our industry and with a return to pre-pandemic 2019 new car sales levels expected.
"However, even these anticipated sales will not be sufficient to reduce Ireland's ageing car fleet. We need to see significant growth in the years ahead if we want to optimise the benefits of reduced emissions from new cars," he said.
"We will see annual increases in electric vehicle sales, but the extent of their penetration into the fleet will not only be determined by the increased choice of EVs been supplied but also by the continuation of Government supports," Mr Cooke added.