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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

January 2013

New VehiclesJanuary
New private cars14,50710,735-3,772-26.0%
New goods vehicles1,082873-209-19.3%
Total new vehicles16,39212,316-4,076-24.9%

Decrease of 26% in new private cars licensed in January

Figure 1 VLFTM - New private cars licensed for the first time
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There were 10,735 new private cars licensed in January 2013, compared with 14,507 in January 2012, a decrease of 26%.

The number of new goods vehicles licensed in January 2013 fell by 19.3% compared with January 2012.

The licensing figures also show that:

  • In January 2013, the total number of all vehicles licensed was 15,814 compared with 19,770 in the corresponding month last year - a decrease of 20%. See Table 1 below.
  • The total number of all new vehicles licensed during January 2013 was 12,316 compared with 16,392 during the same month in 2012 - a decrease of 24.9%.
  • In January 2013, the total number of used (imported) private cars licensed was 2,681 compared with 2,624 during January 2012 - an increase of 2.2%.
  • In January 2013, of the 10,735 new private cars licensed, 2,800 (26.1%) were petrol and 7,842 (73.1%) were diesel. See Table 2 below.
  • The highest number of new private cars licensed in January 2013, classified by make, was Toyota (1,428) followed by Volkswagen (1,294), Ford (1,100) and Hyundai (1,033). See Table 3 below.

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

Table 1: Number of vehicles licensed for the first time classified by taxation class
Taxation ClassJanuary
New vehicles   
New private cars 13,62414,50710,735
New goods vehicles 9691,082873
New tractors 94234206
New motorcycles 1119082
New exempt vehicles 290403362
New other 887658
Total new vehicles 15,17616,39212,316
Used (imported) vehicles   
Used private cars 2,5652,6242,681
Used goods vehicles 429322394
Used tractors 172168103
Used motorcycles 937066
Used other vehicles 266194254
Total used vehicles 3,5253,3783,498
Total all vehicles 18,70119,77015,814
Table 2: Number of new private cars licensed for the first time by CO2 emission band and fuel type, January 2013
BandFuel TypeTotal
 PetrolDieselPetrol & electricPetrol & ethanolElectricOther 
A 1,6024,876750406,557
B 1,0732,29382003,376
C 1013654000470
D 61110000117
E 14990000113
F 190000091
G 3600009
Not available10200002
1 Emission bands are only available for vehicles registered as category A (See background notes for more information)
Table 3: Number of new and used (imported) private cars licensed for the first time by make, January 2013
 NewUsed (imported)Total
Audi 542270812
BMW 518180698
Chevrolet 066
Citroen 170148318
Fiat 421456
Ford 1,1004241,524
Honda 16669235
Hyundai 1,033771,110
Kia 52838566
Lexus 32739
Mazda 19038228
Mercedes-Benz 23362295
Mitsubishi 74579
Nissan 68569754
Opel 4901491
Peugeot 438147585
Renault 31269381
Seat 29338331
Skoda 66963732
Subaru 8816
Suzuki 1028110
Toyota 1,4282461,674
Vauxhall 0229229
Volkswagen 1,2943321,626
Volvo 9150141
Other 29783380
Total 10,7352,68113,416
Footnote: 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.


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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