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For more information on this release:
E-mail: transport@cso.ie Noreen Dorgan +353 21 453 5260 Brendan Curtin +353 21 453 5120
For general information on CSO statistics:
information@cso.ie (+353) 21 453 5000 Visit StatCentral.ie, the portal to Ireland's official statistics On-line ISSN 2009-5678
CSO statistical release, 14 January 2016, 11am

Vehicles licensed for the first time

December and Year 2015

New vehicles201020112012201320142015
New private cars84,90786,93276,25671,34892,361121,110
New goods vehicles10,51011,18810,85511,02416,25422,939
Total new vehicles103,076105,76195,09392,887117,652153,850

New private cars licensed in 2015 exceeds 121,000

Figure 1 VLFTM - New private cars licensed for the first time
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In 2015, 121,110 new private cars were licensed, an increase of 31.1% compared with the previous year. The number of used (imported) private cars licensed fell by 10.7% compared with 2014. See table 1.

Less than one percent (0.7%) of all new private cars licensed in 2015 were licensed in the month of December (847). A total of 3,164 used (imported) private cars were licensed in December, representing a fall of 1.9% on the same month in 2014.

Every county showed an increase in the number of new cars licensed in 2015, with 10 counties having over 3,000 new cars licensed in 2015.  Almost half (47.6%) of all new private cars licensed in the country in 2015 were licensed in Dublin (35.8%) and Cork (11.9%). See figure 2.

This map is © Ordnance Survey Ireland. All rights reserved. License number 01/05/001.

The licensing figures also show that:

  • Volkswagen (15,016) was the most popular make of new private cars licensed in 2015, followed by Toyota (12,409), Ford (11,823), Nissan (10,843) and Hyundai (10,743). Together these five represented half (50.2%) of all new private cars licensed. See table 3.
  • In 2015, seven out of every ten (71.1%) new private cars licensed were diesel, and a similar percentage (71.8%) of new private cars licensed were in the lowest CO2 emissions band A. See table 2B.
  • The total number of all new vehicles licensed during 2015 was 153,850 compared with 117,652 in 2014, an increase of 30.8%. See table 1.
  • There was an increase of 41.1% in the number of new goods vehicles licensed in 2015 (22,939) and this annual figure is more than double those licensed in any of the years 2010 to 2013.
Most popular makes of new cars, 2014
Volkswagen 12.3
Toyota 10.5
Ford 9.8
Nissan 7.2
Hyundai 8
Other52.2
Most popular makes of new cars, 2015
Volkswagen 12.4
Toyota 10.2
Ford 9.8
Nissan 9
Hyundai 8.9
Other49.8

 

The most popular colour for new private cars licensed in 2015 was black (19.8%) followed closely by silver (19.6%), grey and white. The most popular colours in 2014 were silver and black (both 21.0%) followed by grey and white. See table 5.

Table A: New private cars licensed for the first time by most popular make and colour, 2014 - 2015
  
Make2014 2015
ColourPercentage ColourPercentage
      
Volkswagen Black25.8 Silver25.3
Toyota Silver24.9 Silver20.5
Ford Silver24.6 Silver25.0
Nissan Silver21.2 Silver18.2
Hyundai Silver20.5 White19.4
      
  • The most popular colour by individual make shows that for Volkswagen, 25.3% of new cars licensed in 2015 were silver, while in 2014 the most popular colour was black (25.8%). See table A.
  • The colour of choice for most new Toyota, Ford and Nissan private cars licensed was silver in both 2014 and 2015.
  • White was the most popular colour for newly licensed Hyundai cars in 2015 replacing silver which was the most popular colour for that make in 2014.

 

Special analysis - introduction of the dual registration system

In 2013, a dual vehicle registration system was introduced in Ireland. The new two-stage registration period was analysed to assess any potential impact on new private car licensing figures across each year, before and after the change.

Table B: Percentage of new private cars licensed for the first time, 2010 to 2015
        
YearJanQuarter 1Quarter 2Jan-JunJulQuarter 3Quarter 4Jul-Dec
        
201012.340.731.672.38.320.07.727.7
201115.745.434.279.78.015.54.820.3
201219.047.330.077.38.116.66.122.7
201315.043.525.969.413.023.96.730.6
201417.342.624.867.415.226.65.932.6
201516.643.421.664.917.629.55.535.1
         
  • Prior to the introduction of the dual system in 2013, approximately three quarters of new private cars were licensed in the first half of the year (January to June). In 2015, this percentage has dropped to 64.9%. See table B.
  • While January figures show little change for licensing new private cars, the month of July has seen significant increases since the introduction of the dual system. The number of new cars licensed in July 2015 (17.6%) surpassed those licensed in January 2015 (16.6%) for the first time.
  • When analysing licensing on a quarterly basis, the main change in new car licensing can be seen in increased licensing in quarter 3 (July to September), while in quarter 2 (April to June) the percentage of new car licensing has fallen. The number of new cars licensed in the final quarter (October to December) of each year is traditionally low and the introduction of the dual system has not changed this trend. See figure 5.
Quarter 1Quarter 2Quarter 3Quarter 4
201040.731.6207.7
201145.434.215.54.8
201247.33016.66.1
201343.525.923.96.7
201442.624.826.65.9
201543.421.629.55.5

 

Licensing differs from registration in that a vehicle is licensed when a valid motor tax disc is issued for the first time. Registration occurs when a vehicle gets its licence plate (registration number) for the first time.

 

Table 1: Number of vehicles licensed for the first time classified by taxation class
Taxation ClassDecember January - December
201320142015 201320142015
New vehicles
New private cars 639920847 71,34892,361121,110
New goods vehicles 271384548 11,02416,25422,939
New tractors 1057060 4,4032,1861,986
New motorcycles 272020 8789601,244
New exempt vehicles 3771110 3,9554,7625,234
New other 333766 1,2791,1291,337
Total new vehicles 1,1121,5021,651 92,887117,652153,850
       
Used (imported) vehicles       
Used private cars 3,1813,2243,164 49,76252,86347,217
Used goods vehicles 689756596 7,5339,0748,352
Used tractors 256142124 6,5982,3571,787
Used motorcycles 728567 1,6871,6551,586
Used other vehicles 352263234 5,5764,3193,731
Total used vehicles 4,5504,4704,185 71,15670,26862,673
    
Total all vehicles 5,6625,9725,836 164,043187,920216,523
Table 2A: Number of new private cars licensed for the first time by CO2 emission band and fuel type, December 2015
BandFuel TypeTotal
PetrolDieselPetrol & electricPetrol & ethanolElectricOther
        
A 1404925032642
B 65943000162
C 216000018
D 010000010
E 2600008
F 0300003
G 1200003
Not available10100001
        
Total2106248032847
        
1 Emission bands unavailable at time of licensing
Table 2B: Number of new private cars licensed for the first time by CO2 emission band and fuel type, January-December 2015
BandFuel TypeTotal
PetrolDieselPetrol & electricPetrol & ethanolElectricOther
        
A 21,70663,4471,151047619086,970
B 10,47317,810192002428,499
C 5152,60490003,128
D 1541,09110001,246
E 396480000687
F 474361000484
G 2631000057
Not available1336000039
        
Total32,96386,1031,3540476214121,110
1 Emission bands unavailable at time of licensing
Table 3: Number of new and used (imported) private cars licensed for the first time by make, December 2015
MakeDecember January - December
NewUsed (imported)Total NewUsed (imported)Total
        
Audi 392723115,0623,7538,815
BMW 861722584,6512,7337,384
Chevrolet 01104444
Citroen 131211341,8801,9213,801
Dacia677743,660363,696
Fiat 91726670280950
Ford 5252257411,8236,83418,657
Honda 111061171,4161,4462,862
Hyundai 2811914710,7431,69712,440
Kia 1871895,2889076,195
Lexus 5914494163657
Mazda 1749662,1738763,049
Mercedes-Benz 111141252,5251,5024,027
Mitsubishi 413178772461,123
Nissan 2812915710,8432,09812,941
Opel 642667,326247,350
Peugeot 161691853,4492,6136,062
Renault 73821556,1101,3347,444
Seat 739462,5144913,005
Skoda 59721317,4271,0818,508
Subaru 16718546231
Suzuki 829378653351,200
Toyota 7224531712,4093,70516,114
Vauxhall 028828814,9184,919
Volkswagen 9635745315,0166,05421,070
Volvo 1555701,5156822,197
Other 48981462,1881,3983,586
       
Total 8473,1644,011 121,11047,217168,327
        
The information in this table is available in much greater detail in Databases (see Statbank link below)
Table 4: Number of new vehicles licensed for the first time by body type and taxation class, 2015
Body typeTaxation classTotal
Private carsGoods vehiclesTractorsMotor cycles Exempt vehiclesOther classes
Small PSVsLarge PSVsMachines & contrivancesOther vehicles
           
Agricultural tractor001,8300400001,834
Articulated tractor unit087761080000946
Bus1400063740012406
Chassis cab0100000001
Convertible 13500030000138
Crew cab931,255007500001,423
Estate12,7842005970170013,400
Excavator/digger000030084087
Fork lift000000062062
Hatchback36,3570006330240037,014
Jeep4,911170020100005,129
MPV28,1432001,63501040529,889
Minibus1510034300971
Moped000790000079
Motor caravan000010005859
Motor cycle0001,018100001,019
Pick up01300050001136
Rigid0500000005
Saloon28,2690001,06501740129,509
Scooter00013900000139
Sports/Coupe (non convertible)862000140000876
Station wagon/jeep8,088400600020008,712
Telescopic handler00260000850111
Van1,37819,45900183018021,029
Other 611,18669819713170811,776
           
Total 121,11022,9391,9861,2445,234418343409167153,850
           
Table 5: Percentage of new private cars licensed for the first time by most popular colour, 2011 to 2015
      
Colour20112012201320142015
      
Black24.223.222.821.019.8
Silver24.723.422.621.019.6
Grey18.119.217.416.917.4
White3.55.48.511.212.7
Blue11.310.710.210.011.1
Red10.49.910.510.510.9
Other7.98.38.09.48.5
      
Total100.0100.0100.0100.0100.0
      

Background Notes

Source

The vehicle licensing figures are compiled from data supplied by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS), Driver and Vehicle Computer Services Division. The data provide details on the number of private cars, goods vehicles, motor cycles and other vehicles licensed for the first time in each city and county council, classified by make and size, during a given month.

History

The release titled 'Vehicles licensed for the first time' commenced in January 1993. It replaced the series previously published as 'Particulars of vehicles registered and licensed for the first time'.

In January 1993, separate systems for vehicle registration and licensing were introduced. The Office of the Revenue Commissioners became responsible for the compilation of vehicle registrations while the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government retained responsibility for vehicle licensing. In January 2008, responsibility for vehicle licensing was transferred to the Department of Transport (which later became DTTAS).

For new cars registered from 1 July 2008 motor tax charges are determined on the basis of the CO2 emission level, based on seven CO2 bands. Tables with CO2 emission data were added to this release from July 2008.

Vehicle licensing versus vehicle registration

Vehicle licensing differs from registration in that a vehicle is licensed when a valid motor tax disc is issued for the first time. Registration occurs when a vehicle is issued with a license plate (registration number) for the first time. Registration precedes licensing and the time lapse between them accounts for the differences which can occur between licensing and registration figures in a given month.

The question is often asked, which best reflects vehicle sales, licensing figures or registration figures?

In practice, on a monthly basis, the licensing data is probably a better reflection of sales. In some cases, a vehicle may be registered by a dealership in advance of a sale. Whereas, typically, vehicles are only licensed at the point of sale. However, if a vehicle is purchased towards the end of a month, the buyer may wish to defer collecting and licensing it until the start of the following month. So the issue is not clear-cut.

Definitions

Exempt:  The term 'exempt vehicles' in this release, refers to vehicles which are licensed for the first time but are exempt from liability to pay road tax.

Exempt vehicles can be divided into four main categories:

  • State-owned
  • Diplomatic
  • Fire services
  • Disabled drivers

Machines or contrivances:  Vehicles included under this category are mobile machines, forklifts, excavators and diggers.

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