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Extra information
For more information on this release:
E-mail: transport@cso.ie Esther Deane (+353) 21 453 5322 Noreen Leahy (+353) 21 453 5262
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, 09 March 2018, 11am

Vehicles licensed for the first time

February 2018

 February January-February
20172018Change 20172018Change
New private cars16,90516,501-404-2.4% 43,57342,314-1,259-2.9%
New goods vehicles3,1153,103-12-0.4% 6,1316,13540.1%
Total new vehicles21,12620,782-344-1.6% 52,00550,893-1,112-2.1%
          
Used private cars7,7238,60388011.4% 14,52116,6282,10714.5%
Used goods vehicles1,1331,2451129.9% 2,2402,46722710.1%
Total used vehicles9,72310,71298910.2% 18,46320,7402,27712.3%

Decrease of 2.4% in new private cars licensed in February 2018

Figure 1 VLFTM - New private cars licensed for the first time
go to full release

In February 2018, 16,501 new private cars were licensed, a drop of 2.4% compared with February 2017. The number of used (imported) private cars licensed increased by 11.4% compared with February 2017.

In the first two months of 2018, a total of 42,314 new private cars were licensed, a decrease of 2.9% compared with the same period last year. The number of used (imported) private cars licensed increased by 14.5% compared with the same period in 2017.

The licensing figures also show that:

  • Ford (1,748) was the most popular make of new private car licensed followed by Volkswagen (1,732), Hyundai (1,659), Toyota (1,595) and Nissan (1,519). Together these five makes represent half of all new private cars licensed in February 2018. See table 3.
  • In the first two months of 2018, over half (55.6%) of all new private cars licensed were diesel while 94.9% of new private cars licensed in the same period were in the A/B CO2 emissions bands. See table 2.
  • There was a decrease of 0.4% in the number of new goods vehicles licensed in February 2018 bringing the total to 3,103.
  • The total number of new vehicles licensed during February 2018 was 20,782 compared with 21,126 during the same month in 2017, a decrease of 1.6%. See table 1.
  • On a seasonally adjusted basis, new private cars licensed increased by 1.1% in February 2018 compared with January 2018. The number of seasonally adjusted used (imported) private cars licensed decreased by 1.7% over the same period. See table 4 and figure 4.
  • In the first two months of 2018, 0.3% of imported private cars licensed were less than one year old (vehicles previously registered abroad in 2018) while 880 (5.3%) were ten years or older. See table 5 and figure 5.
  • There were 23,541 new diesel private cars licensed in the first two months of 2018, compared with 28,318 in the same period in 2017. For used (imported) diesel private cars, the total licensed was 13,027 in the first two months of 2018. This compares with 11,667 in the same period last year. See table 6.
Licensing and registration are different processes. A vehicle is licensed when a valid motor tax disc is issued for the first time whereas registration occurs when a vehicle gets its licence plate (registration number) for the first time.
Most popular makes of new cars, February 2018
Ford 10.6
Volkswagen10.5
Hyundai10.1
Toyota9.7
Nissan 9.2
Other50
Most popular makes of new cars, February 2017
Ford 10.1
Volkswagen9.7
Hyundai10.3
Toyota11.1
Nissan 7.2
Other51.6
Table 1: Number of vehicles licensed for the first time classified by taxation class
Taxation ClassFebruary January - February
201620172018 201620172018
New vehicles
New private cars 21,17316,90516,501 48,27943,57342,314
New goods vehicles 3,8153,1153,103 6,6046,1316,135
New tractors 195171193 452365432
New motor cycles 127127116 289239264
New exempt vehicles 700677688 1,3901,3961,439
New other 174131181 320301309
Total new vehicles 26,18421,12620,782 57,33452,00550,893
       
Used (imported) vehicles       
Used private cars 5,0777,7238,603 8,92514,52116,628
Used goods vehicles 7111,1331,245 1,3502,2402,467
Used tractors 138217184 264438381
Used motorcycles 100176227 207386412
Used other vehicles 283474453 509878852
Total used vehicles 6,3099,72310,712 11,25518,46320,740
       
Total all vehicles 32,49330,84931,494 68,58970,46871,633
Table 2A: Number of new private cars licensed for the first time by CO2 emission band and fuel type, February 2018
BandFuel TypeTotal
PetrolDieselElectricPetrol & electric hybridDiesel & electric hybridPetrol or Diesel plug-in electric hybrid
A 4,1687,0277881907812,170
B 1,9481,546034003,528
C 1933670300563
D 25920000117
E 1381000094
F 713000020
G 1000001
Not available0800008
Total6,3559,1347885607816,501
Table 2B: Number of new private cars licensed for the first time by CO2 emission band and fuel type, January-February 2018
BandFuel TypeTotal
PetrolDieselElectricPetrol & electric hybridDiesel & electric hybridPetrol or Diesel plug-in electric hybrid
A 10,33518,1771552,566115131,385
B 4,8003,890095008,785
C 5371,014013001,564
D 682240000292
E 281920000220
F 2130000051
G 2300005
Not available111000012
Total15,79223,5411552,674115142,314
Table 3: Number of new and used (imported) private cars licensed for the first time by make, February 2018
MakeFebruary January - February
NewUsed (imported)Total NewUsed (imported)Total
Audi 6107481,3581,5411,4923,033
BMW 5026291,1311,2781,2162,494
Citroen 84209293233413646
Dacia 39423417978561,034
Fiat 5947106169118287
Ford 1,7481,0572,8054,5502,0266,576
Honda 175216391457435892
Hyundai 1,6596272,2864,3951,1895,584
Jaguar 8851139181105286
Kia 9742491,2232,6435173,160
Land Rover 1504019036591456
Lexus 65126191192247439
Mazda 2821434258592831,142
Mercedes Benz 6204571,0771,6808102,490
Mini 6294156190163353
Mitsubishi 10473177285140425
Nissan 1,5195222,0413,6691,0054,674
Opel 52505251,35501,355
Peugeot 7012369371,7494982,247
Renault 8141871,0011,9093652,274
Seat 4531145679682161,184
Skoda 1,1872481,4352,7534503,203
Ssangyong 81927128
Subaru 2733060969
Suzuki 13953192418107525
Toyota 1,5955742,1695,0101,1276,137
Vauxhall 04144140820820
Volkswagen 1,7321,1312,8633,8152,1235,938
Volvo 182259441488452940
Other 437211597154251
Total 16,5018,60325,104 42,31416,62858,942
The information in this table is available in much greater detail in Databases (see StatBank link below)
X-axis labelUnadjusted dataAdjusted dataTrend
Feb-1396716001.454573448216046.90885867762
Mar-13105966218.02090715566111.8051102529
Apr-1381136156.560158083436238.36085218433
May-1370956455.607376513566409.36073173483
Jun-1332936738.774412373346607.04101327428
Jul-1393064879.717162321236828.36508379169
Aug-1345045458.256739148167085.45101993901
Sep-1332576191.438969211437372.62989771767
Oct-1328326954.461964335187627.24313026203
Nov-1313077246.249335879877814.03400272134
Dec-136397703.41594688217926.37270343374
Jan-14159757717.630548724847966.04164163612
Feb-14119067472.278759503667934.54248776046
Mar-14114857441.2793523767858.6853788239
Apr-14117578163.630045013537783.45886558078
May-1477677733.943558462427725.4170454024
Jun-1433907507.285037505277702.64464860851
Jul-14140377258.486890157457741.65468989193
Aug-1462017991.841118109727860.06445037817
Sep-1443768193.050718364688065.78519975306
Oct-1430828062.579929000658365.79475485614
Nov-1414658863.15579218368721.12367207391
Dec-1492011484.87464355719068.06775857667
Jan-15201059335.367083320519370.83321075054
Feb-15153849612.271632567499609.41562928276
Mar-151705410184.7246009319793.8829968788
Apr-15131669774.783941969729958.12576207977
May-1590279994.3338313821510153.3376944195
Jun-1539249410.4445177982510407.0183272515
Jul-152129010687.285273247310685.7067574598
Aug-15857211231.192504181810962.8703471987
Sep-15592411445.441899695411241.1327986419
Oct-15394311353.501352850611491.5962439682
Nov-15187411468.431894747611700.3946784397
Dec-1584711610.012267670411871.5560920495
Jan-162710612324.385934210411968.2632559714
Feb-162117312591.886783299811965.4656457856
Mar-162009611440.154880038711875.9995033883
Apr-161484711985.101152409911735.0948018963
May-161012511363.236728237711618.7217123084
Jun-16414311139.926461514911595.8726722397
Jul-162246211818.969832793711639.8868215937
Aug-16978111975.110969968411687.7154664291
Sep-16584211573.174353479511655.140822366
Oct-16383111900.404820509211518.6100693681
Nov-16184611262.283105975711310.4611531968
Dec-1667910499.84470614411075.5413240295
Jan-172666811214.242537686210871.5806406802
Feb-171690510590.551481094110739.3963235348
Mar-171718010774.226909868110664.8679353485
Apr-171342710554.20984847210624.5928488037
May-17958110631.183960495310583.1905816778
Jun-17358510296.032256437110503.0740918689
Jul-172131610826.398727807110390.5723913818
Aug-17810510145.823178432410264.4984680406
Sep-17482810152.889493958810139.9214802842
Oct-1732559884.5089608813210063.3883466344
Nov-1715949975.3276607571110045.8166190758
Dec-1760110075.4202320565
Jan-182581310244.7269180068
Feb-181650110357.1829215045
Table 4: Seasonally adjusted number of vehicles licensed for the first time classified by taxation class
Taxation classFebruary 2017January 2018February 2018Monthly % change
New vehicles
New private cars 10,59110,24510,3571.1
New goods vehicles 2,1422,1272,118-0.4
New tractors 1531661702.4
New motor cycles 135124120-3.2
New exempt vehicles 475494490-0.8
New other 10911015238.2
Total new vehicles 13,60413,26613,4081.1
    
Used (imported) vehicles    
Used private cars 7,2938,2778,138-1.7
Used goods vehicles 1,1541,2501,2691.5
Used tractors 224202189-6.4
Used motorcycles 24625431825.2
Used other vehicles 5304794984.0
Total used vehicles 9,44710,46210,413-0.5
    
Total all vehicles 23,05223,72823,8210.4
X-axis label20142015201620172018 to date
<1 year old1.61.12.11.90.3
1-2 years old15.611.113.216.714.6
3-5 years old49.650.447.849.252.5
6-9 years old24.327.729.727.327.3
Over 10 years old8.99.87.34.85.3
Table 5: Number of new and used (imported) private cars licensed for the first time
Private cars20112012201320142015201620172018 Jan-Feb
New86,93276,25671,34892,361121,110141,931127,04542,314
Used (imported) 41,14938,46949,76252,86347,21770,13892,50816,628
Total128,081114,725121,110145,224168,327212,069219,55358,942
% used (imported)32.1%33.5%41.1%36.4%28.1%33.1%42.1%28.2%

Footnote: For the purpose of the analysis of the age profile of used (imported) private cars, calendar years were used to band the age groups. For example, a private car defined as less than one year old is an imported vehicle which has previously been registered abroad for the first time in the current calendar year.

Table 6: Number of new and used (imported) private cars licensed for the first time by fuel type
Fuel typeNewUsed (imported)
February January - February February January - February
20172018 20172018 20172018 20172018
Petrol5,2296,355 13,41115,7921,3071,413 2,4692,747
Diesel10,9629,134 28,31823,5416,2076,768 11,66713,027
Electric8978 1961553154 50113
Hybrid625934 1,6482,826178368 334741
Other00 0000 10
Total16,90516,501 43,57342,314 7,7238,603 14,52116,628

Background Notes

Source

The vehicle licensing figures are compiled from data supplied by the Driver and Vehicle Computer Services Division of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. 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 the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport).

Motor tax charges are determined on the basis of CO2 emission level (using seven CO2 bands) for all new cars registered from 1 July 2008.

The licensing process where applicable follows the registration process.

Vehicle Licensing versus Vehicle Registration

The CSO produces vehicle licensing statistics on a monthly basis. Vehicle registration data has not been published on the CSO StatBank since June 2010.

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.

Seasonal adjustment

Seasonal adjustment for each taxation class is conducted using a direct seasonal adjustment approach. However, the overall vehicle totals are estimated using the indirect approach, i.e. the ‘Total new vehicles’ is derived by adding all the seasonally adjusted new vehicles taxation classes. The main reason for adopting the indirect approach is to attribute the monthly and annual changes in vehicle licensing to each of its taxation classes. Seasonal adjustment models are developed for each series based on unadjusted data spanning from July 1996 to the current period. These models are reviewed on an annual basis; however seasonal factors are updated each month.

The adjustments are completed by applying the X-13-ARIMA model, developed by the U.S. Census Bureau to the unadjusted data.  This methodology estimates seasonal factors while also taking into consideration factors that impact on the quality of the seasonal adjustment such as:

• Calendar effects, e.g. the timing of Easter,

• Outliers, temporary changes and level shifts in the series. 

For additional information on the use of X-13-ARIMA see https://www.census.gov/srd/www/winx13/

Definitions

Private cars:  The term 'private cars' in this release, refers to privately licensed vehicles which include hire, fleet and certain commercial vehicles.

New and used vehicles:  The term 'new vehicles' refers to new vehicles which are licensed for use in a public place, in this country, for the first time. 'Used vehicles' refers to used vehicles which are licensed for use in a public place, in this country, for the first time. In the main used vehicles are imported.

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

Electric hybrid:  means a vehicle that derives its motive power from a combination of an electric motor and an internal combustion engine and is capable of being driven on electric propulsion alone for a material part of its normal driving cycle.

Plug-in electric hybrid:  means a vehicle that derives its motive power from a combination of an electric motor and an internal combustion engine, where the electric motor derives its power from a battery that may be charged from the internal combustion engine and an alternating current (AC) electric mains supply and is capable of being driven on electric propulsion alone for a material part of its normal driving cycle.

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