But the CSO said the number of new cars licensed in the first nine months of this year fell by almost 28% to 77,620 from 107,686 in 2019.

This was due to the very low numbers of cars licensed during the peak of the Covid-19 crisis.

Today’s figures also show the continued growth in the number of electric and hybrid vehicles licensed here.

Despite the drop of 27.9% in the overall number of new cars licensed from January to September, the number of new hybrid and electric cars licensed exceeded the number licensed for all of 2019.

They now account for 25.4% of new private cars licensed compared with 12% the same time in 2019.

The CSO said the number of new electric cars licensed in the first nine months of 2020 increased by 15.2% from 2,904 to 3,345, the CSO said.

It also noted that 11,871 new hybrid cars were licensed in the first nine months of 2020, compared with 10,520 with the same time last year.

Meanwhile, the number of used, or imported, cars licensed decreased by 5.8% to 9,300 in September from 9,868 the same time last year.

Today’s licensing figures for September also show that Volkswagen was the most popular make of new private car licensed followed by Ford, Skoda, Toyota and Kia. Together these five makes represent 45.9% of all new private cars licensed in September 2020.



They also show that in the first nine months of 2020, 43% of all new private cars licensed were diesel, compared with 46.8% the same time last year.

The CSO said that comparing its figures with the recently published Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) figures, it is important to note that 53.4% of new cars licensed in September 2020 were registered before September.

The monthly licensing (CSO) figures and the registration figures (SIMI) differ due to the different dates on which a vehicle is registered (number plate) and licensed (tax disc).

A vehicle may be registered by a dealership in advance of a sale, and vehicles which are registered in a given month may not be licensed until a later month.