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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

December 2013

New VehiclesDecemberJanuary - December
New private cars774639-135-17.4%76,25671,348-4,908-6.4%
New goods vehicles2382713313.9%10,85511,0241691.6%
Total new vehicles1,1741,112-62-5.3%95,09392,887-2,206-2.3%

Decrease of 17.4% in new private cars licensed in December

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 decreased by 17.4% to 639 in December 2013 compared to December 2012. Used (imported) private cars licensed for the first time were down 6.4% to 3,181 for the same period.

In total, there were 71,348 new private cars licensed in the year to the end of December 2013, a fall of 6.4% compared to the same period in 2012. The corresponding figure for 2013 in respect of used (imported) private cars was 49,762 and this was up 29.4% from 2012.

The licensing figures also show that:

  • In 2013, the total number of new goods vehicles licensed was 11,024, up 1.6% from 2012.
  • There were 92,887 new vehicles licensed during 2013 compared with 95,093 during 2012 - a decrease of 2.3%. See Table 1 below.
  • Of the 71,348 new private cars licensed in 2013, 18,964 (26.6%) were petrol and 51,772 (72.6%) were diesel.  See Table 2B below.
  • The highest number of new private cars licensed in 2013, classified by make, was Volkswagen (9,098) followed by Toyota (7,180), Ford (7,032) and Hyundai (5,548).  See Table 3 below.
  • In total, the number of vehicles licensed in 2013 was 164,043 compared with 145,043 during the previous year – an increase of 13.1%.

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

It should be noted that the three month transition period for motor tax gapping provided for in the Non-Use of Motor Vehicles Act 2013 ended on 30 September 2013.

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
 201120122013 201120122013
New vehicles       
New private cars 597774639 86,93276,25671,348
New goods vehicles 292238271 11,18810,85511,024
New tractors 7663105 1,7311,9964,403
New motorcycles 282327 1,102955878
New exempt vehicles 514737 4,0143,9303,955
New other 232933 7941,1011,279
Total new vehicles 1,0671,1741,112 105,76195,09392,887
Used (imported) vehicles       
Used private cars 3,1113,4003,181 41,14938,46949,762
Used goods vehicles 401378689 5,2274,7317,533
Used tractors 175116256 2,5371,7816,598
Used motorcycles 664272 2,0721,5221,687
Used other vehicles 233210352 4,0313,4375,576
Total used vehicles 3,9864,1464,550 55,01649,94071,156
Total all vehicles 5,0535,3205,662 160,777145,033164,043
Table 2A: Number of new private cars licensed for the first time by CO2 emission band and fuel type, December 2013
BandFuel TypeTotal
 PetrolDieselPetrol & electricPetrol & ethanolElectricOther 
A 1162961000413
B 100800000180
C 216100019
D 010000010
E 0400004
F 0900009
G 0200002
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-December 2013
BandFuel TypeTotal
 PetrolDieselPetrol & electricPetrol & ethanolElectricOther 
A 10,74132,476477051043,745
B 7,68615,2086060022,960
C 4102,201180002,629
D 556140000669
E 445340000578
F 46740000678
G 1042000052
Not available11423000037
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 20131
MakeDecember January - December
 NewUsed (imported)Total NewUsed (imported)Total
Audi 20362382 3,5545,0708,624
BMW 26216242 3,4143,2526,666
Chevrolet 022 23335
Citroen 3161164 1,1872,5713,758
Fiat 101121 531205736
Ford 88479567 7,0327,79014,822
Honda 68692 9481,1172,065
Hyundai 2088108 5,5481,5837,131
Kia 115364 3,1516773,828
Lexus 156 185119304
Mazda 104353 1,3596021,961
Mercedes-Benz 87280 1,3831,0262,409
Mitsubishi 3912 470205675
Nissan 37159196 5,0342,0877,121
Opel 76278 4,721314,752
Peugeot 13189202 2,1112,9055,016
Renault 30119149 3,3561,7075,063
Seat 162238 2,1585012,659
Skoda 6174135 4,5931,1065,699
Subaru 156 9152143
Suzuki 21416 561131692
Toyota 23253276 7,1804,36211,542
Vauxhall 0287287 03,9353,935
Volkswagen 126327453 9,0986,19315,291
Volvo 134558 8568381,694
Other 3598133 2,8251,6644,489
Total 6393,1813,820 71,34849,762121,110
1 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, 2013 
Body typeTaxation classTotal
Private carsGoods vehiclesTractorsMotor cycles Exempt vehiclesOther classes
Small PSVsLarge PSVsMachines & contrivancesOther vehicles
Agricultural tractor004,2420100024,245 
Articulated tractor unit08240000000824 
Chassis cab028000000028 
Convertible 660000000066 
Crew cab2254200150000579 
Fork lift000000091091 
Motor caravan000010003839 
Motor cycle00068200000682 
Pick up064006000070 
Sports/Coupe (non convertible)54100070000548 
Station wagon/jeep4,48300030180004,792 
Telescopic handler004000001340174 
Other 3372312110207012382281,561 
Total 71,34811,0244,4038783,95516021860629592,887  

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.


Second-hand:  The term 'second-hand vehicles' in this release, refers to imported used vehicles which are licensed for use in a public place, in this country, for the first time.

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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