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International comparison:
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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

March 2013

New VehiclesMarchJanuary - March
New private cars10,58110,596150.1%36,08131,002-5,079-14.1%
New goods vehicles1,1551,057-98-8.5%3,6923,050-642-17.4%
Total new vehicles12,56812,452-116-0.9%42,35736,286-6,071-14.3%

Increase of 0.1% in new private cars licensed in March

Figure 1 VLFTM - New private cars licensed for the the first time
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There were 10,596 new private cars licensed in March 2013, compared with 10,581 in March 2012, an increase of 0.1%.

The number of new goods vehicles licensed in March 2013 was 1,057, down 8.5% from March 2012.

The licensing figures also show that:

  • In March 2013, the total number of all vehicles licensed was 17,600 compared with 17,171 in the corresponding month last year – an increase of 2.5%. See Table 1 below.
  • The total number of all new vehicles licensed during March 2013 was 12,452 compared with 12,568 during the same month in 2012 - a decrease of 0.9%.
  • In March 2013, the total number of used (imported) private cars licensed was 4,113 compared with 3,642 during March 2012 - an increase of 12.9%.
  • In March 2013, of the 10,596 new private cars licensed, 3,086 (29.1%) were petrol and 7,464 (70.4%) were diesel. See Table 2A below.
  • The highest number of new private cars licensed in March 2013, classified by make, was Volkswagen (1,215) followed by Nissan (1,067), Toyota (992) and Ford (853). 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 ClassMarch January - March
 201120122013 201120122013
New vehicles       
New private cars 12,39010,58110,596 39,48436,08131,002
New goods vehicles 1,1791,1551,057 3,4973,6923,050
New tractors 173187156 437619535
New motorcycles 1408264 329269226
New exempt vehicles 518472522 1,3441,4021,296
New other 839157 264294177
Total new vehicles 14,48312,56812,452 45,35542,35736,286
Used (imported) vehicles       
Used private cars 3,5033,6424,113 9,3809,57810,511
Used goods vehicles 466346510 1,4051,0831,393
Used tractors 240184112 581514335
Used motorcycles 201152126 440322282
Used other vehicles 414279287 964695784
Total used vehicles 4,8244,6035,148 12,77012,19213,305
Total all vehicles 19,30717,17117,600 58,12554,54949,591
Table 2A: Number of new private cars licensed for the first time by CO2 emission band and fuel type, March 2013
BandFuel TypeTotal
 PetrolDieselPetrol & electricPetrol & ethanolElectricOther 
A 1,7234,635340006,392
B 1,2792,33192003,621
C 722411000314
D 9940000103
E 156000057
F 096000096
G 211000013
Not available10000000
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-March 2013
BandFuel TypeTotal
 PetrolDieselPetrol & electricPetrol & ethanolElectricOther 
A 4,59513,923162013018,693
B 3,5126,7622650010,305
C 22991480001,151
D 312830000314
E 222290000251
F 12560000257
G 522000027
Not available10400004
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, March 20131
MakeMarch January - March
 NewUsed (imported)Total NewUsed (imported)Total
Audi 5824211,003 1,5341,0902,624
BMW 379318697 1,2617512,012
Chevrolet 033 11112
Citroen 367220587 6526001,252
Fiat 9819117 18947236
Ford 8536801,533 2,8861,7394,625
Honda 15895253 455252707
Hyundai 754130884 2,6283292,957
Kia 48851539 1,4141311,545
Lexus 15621 7527102
Mazda 13649185 505150655
Mercedes-Benz 16186247 526210736
Mitsubishi 702494 20047247
Nissan 1,0671171,184 2,7372963,033
Opel 7031704 1,90931,912
Peugeot 407219626 1,0955821,677
Renault 643125768 1,4813001,781
Seat 37341414 8941251,019
Skoda 66395758 2,0802602,340
Subaru 8412 291443
Suzuki 621375 22426250
Toyota 9923591,351 3,3389174,255
Vauxhall 0324324 0810810
Volkswagen 1,2155361,751 3,7241,2965,020
Volvo 10156157 304178482
Other 301121422 8613201,181
Total 10,5964,11314,709 31,00210,51141,513
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.


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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