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For more information on this release:
E-mail: Noreen Dorgan +353 21 453 5260 Jim Dalton +353 21 453 5120
For general information on CSO statistics: (+353) 21 453 5000 On-line ISSN 2009-5678
CSO statistical release, , 11am

Vehicles licensed for the first time

April 2014

New vehiclesAprilJanuary - April
New private cars8,11311,7573,64444.9%39,11551,12312,00830.7%
New goods vehicles1,1291,50237333.0%4,1796,1051,92646.1%
Total new vehicles10,05714,1784,12141.0%46,34361,05114,70831.7%

Increase of 44.9% in new private cars licensed in April

Figure 1 VLFTM - New private cars licensed for the first time
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The number of new private cars licensed for the first time increased by 44.9% to 11,757 in April 2014 compared to April 2013. Used (imported) private cars licensed for the first time were up 8.8% to 4,783 for the same period.

In total, there were 51,123 new private cars licensed in the year to the end of April 2014, a rise of 30.7% compared to the same period in 2013. The corresponding figure for 2014 in respect of used (imported) private cars was 18,154 and this was up 21.8% from 2013.

The licensing figures also show that:

  • The number of new goods vehicles licensed in April 2014 was 1,502, up 33.0% from April 2013. See Table 1 below.
  • The total number of all new vehicles licensed during April 2014 was 14,178 compared with 10,057 during the same month in 2013 - an increase of 41.0%.
  • In April 2014, of the 11,757 new private cars licensed, 2,908 (24.7%) were petrol and 8,725 (74.2%) were diesel. See Table 2A below.
  • The highest number of new private cars licensed in April 2014, classified by make, was Volkswagen (1,542) followed by Nissan (1,183), Toyota (1,051) and Ford (958). See Table 3 below.
  • In April 2014, the total number of all vehicles licensed was 20,593 compared with 15,567 in the corresponding month last year - an increase of 32.3%. See Table 1 below.

The licensing figures refer to vehicles taxed for road use only and classified by taxation class.

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 ClassApril January - April
201220132014 201220132014
New vehicles       
New private cars 9,3888,11311,757 45,46939,11551,123
New goods vehicles 1,0471,1291,502 4,7394,1796,105
New tractors 176185193 795720881
New motorcycles 10199104 370325344
New exempt vehicles 454449496 1,8561,7452,120
New other 9782126 391259478
Total new vehicles 11,26310,05714,178 53,62046,34361,051
Used (imported) vehicles       
Used private cars 3,1934,3984,783 12,77114,90918,154
Used goods vehicles 373552861 1,4561,9453,069
Used tractors 121121216 635456900
Used motorcycles 167145179 489427469
Used other vehicles 300294376 9951,0781,398
Total used vehicles 4,1545,5106,415 16,34618,81523,990
Total all vehicles 15,41715,56720,593 69,96665,15885,041
Table 2A: Number of new private cars licensed for the first time by CO2 emission band and fuel type, April 2014
BandFuel TypeTotal
PetrolDieselPetrol & electricPetrol & ethanolElectricOther
A 1,5136,2229801727,852
B 1,3211,97900003,300
C 622837000352
D 594000099
E 334000037
F 31070000110
G 1400005
Not available10200002
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-April 2014
BandFuel TypeTotal
PetrolDieselPetrol & electricPetrol & ethanolElectricOther
A 7,40926,30553601061634,372
B 5,0139,0912500014,129
C 2181,211180001,447
D 393860000425
E 161810000197
F 35040000507
G 829000037
Not available10900009
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, April 2014
MakeApril January - April
NewUsed (imported)Total NewUsed (imported)Total
Audi 514438952 2,2681,6103,878
BMW 335361696 1,8951,3293,224
Chevrolet 022 01414
Citroen 277223500 7658261,591
Fiat 9119110 31887405
Ford 9587371,695 4,8512,7957,646
Honda 151102253 7153751,090
Hyundai 755157912 4,2805714,851
Kia 57377650 2,3472752,622
Lexus 391049 21048258
Mazda 23068298 9752581,233
Mercedes-Benz 176107283 1,1054371,542
Mitsubishi 651580 34170411
Nissan 1,1831631,346 3,9577834,740
Opel 7876793 3,315153,330
Peugeot 369239608 1,6929712,663
Renault 744169913 2,4576483,105
Seat 37053423 1,3382001,538
Skoda 775106881 3,5454073,952
Subaru 15015 671178
Suzuki 8519104 38356439
Toyota 1,0513931,444 5,6341,5477,181
Vauxhall 0467467 01,7541,754
Volkswagen 1,5426192,161 6,1022,1628,264
Volvo 17970249 616281897
Other 493163656 1,9476242,571
Total 11,7574,78316,540 51,12318,15469,277
1 The information in this table is available in much greater detail in Databases (see Statbank link below)

Background Notes


The vehicle licensing figures are compiled from data supplied by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, 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.


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 the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport).

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. A further such table was added in November 2008.

The licensing process where applicable follows the registration process.

Vehicle licensing versus vehicle registration

Registration and licensing figures may differ in a given month for a number of reasons, some of which are outlined below:

  • Vehicles which under the previous system would have been licensed in the latter part of a particular month may not now be licensed until a later month because of the time lapse between registration and first licensing.
  • Registered vehicles which are not used in a public place (e.g. tractors for use exclusively on the land) may not need to be licensed.

The question is often asked, which reflects better 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.

From 31 October 1999, detailed information on agricultural vehicles is no longer published in accordance with Commission Decision 92/157/EEC as upheld on 28 May 1998.


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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