New figures from the Central Statistics Office show the number of new cars licensed for the first time fell by 10.5% in March compared to the same time last year.

Today's CSO figures show that 14,404 new private cars were licensed for the first time in March, down from the figure of 16,088 the same month last year.

Meanwhile, a total of 9,101 used, or imported, private cars were licensed in March, an increase of 12.7% on the same month last year.

The CSO said that in the first quarter of 2019, a total of 50,861 new private cars were licensed, a drop of 12.9% compared with the same time last year. 

The number of used private cars licensed increased by 4.9% compared with the same three months in 2018. 

And a total of 7,932 new goods vehicles were licensed in the first quarter, down 7.4% on the figure of 8,563 in the first quarter of 2018.

Today's CSO figures also reveal that Volkswagen was the most popular make of new private cars licensed in the first three months of the year. It was followed by Hyundai, Toyota, Ford and Skoda.

Together these five makes represent 49.4% of all new private cars licensed in the first quarter. 

The most popular new private car model in March was the Toyota Corolla, the CSO added.

The CSO also said that in the first quarter of 2019 the number of electric/hybrid new private cars licensed for the first time stood 4,613, up from 3,604 in the first quarter of 2018.