Back to Top

Central Statistics Office

Search currently unavailable

 Skip navigation

Extra information
For more information on this release:
E-mail: transport@cso.ie Aileen O'Carroll (+353) 21 453 5782 Kieran Riordan (+353) 21 453 5320
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, 11 June 2018, 11am

Vehicles licensed for the first time

May 2018

 May January - May
20172018Change 20172018Change
New private cars9,5819,362-219-2.3% 83,76179,321-4,440-5.3%
New goods vehicles2,1852,53935416.2% 13,25813,9216635.0%
Total new vehicles12,83313,0151821.4% 102,76499,178-3,586-3.5%
          
Used private cars7,7328,8221,09014.1% 37,86042,1994,33911.5%
Used goods vehicles1,3401,416765.7% 5,9176,4475309.0%
Total used vehicles10,33811,4661,12810.9% 48,67253,4534,7819.8%

Decrease of 2.3% in new private cars licensed in May 2018

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

In May 2018, 9,362 new private cars were licensed, a drop of 2.3% compared with May 2017. The number of used (imported) private cars licensed increased by 14.1% compared with the same period in 2017.

In the first five months of 2018, a total of 79,321 new private cars were licensed, a decrease of 5.3% compared with the same period last year. The number of used (imported) private cars licensed increased by 11.5% compared with the same period in 2017.

The licensing figures also show that:

  • Volkswagen (1,061) was the most popular make of new private car licensed followed by Skoda (894), Toyota (790), Hyundai (773) and Renault (693). Together these five makes represent less than half (45.0%) of all new private cars licensed in May 2018. See table 3.
  • In the first five months of 2018, more than half (55.5%) of all new private cars licensed were diesel, compared with 65.7% in the same period for 2017. Almost all (94.8%) new private cars licensed in the same period were in the A/B CO2 emissions bands. See table 2B.
  • There was an increase of 16.2% in the number of new goods vehicles licensed in May 2018 bringing the total to 2,539. See table 1.
  • On a seasonally adjusted basis, new private cars licensed increased by 4.6% in May 2018 compared with April 2018. The number of seasonally adjusted used (imported) private cars licensed increased by 3.1% over the same period. See table 4 and figure 4.
  • In the first five months of 2018, just 0.5% of imported private cars licensed were less than one year old (vehicles previously registered abroad in 2018) while 13,207 (31.3%) were six years or older. See table 5 and figure 5.
  • There were 43,987 new diesel private cars licensed in the first five months of 2018, compared with 55,003 in the same period in 2017. For used (imported) diesel private cars, the total licensed was 32,867 in the first five months of 2018. This compares with 30,213 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, May 2018
Volkswagen 11.3
Skoda 9.5
Toyota 8.4
Hyundai8.3
Renault7.4
Other55
Most popular makes of new cars, May 2017
Volkswagen 10.3
Skoda 7.2
Toyota 7.8
Hyundai7.5
Renault10.1
Other57.2
Table 1: Number of vehicles licensed for the first time classified by taxation class
Taxation ClassMay January - May
201620172018 201620172018
New vehicles       
New private cars 10,1259,5819,362 93,34783,76179,321
New goods vehicles 2,5312,1852,539 15,09813,25813,921
New tractors 224240243 1,0689481,082
New motor cycles 159142154 746715710
New exempt vehicles 448453541 3,1983,2333,314
New other 181232176 849849830
Total new vehicles 13,66812,83313,015 114,306102,76499,178
       
Used (imported) vehicles       
Used private cars 5,4887,7328,822 25,31537,86042,199
Used goods vehicles 8861,3401,416 3,9255,9176,447
Used tractors 181304237 7371,133984
Used motorcycles 211367374 7501,3441,358
Used other vehicles 432595617 1,5662,4182,465
Total used vehicles 7,19810,33811,466 32,29348,67253,453
       
Total all vehicles 20,86623,17124,481 146,599151,436152,631
Table 2A: Number of new private cars licensed for the first time by CO2 emission band and fuel type, May 2018
BandFuel TypeTotal
PetrolDieselElectricPetrol & electric hybridDiesel & electric hybridPetrol or Diesel plug-in electric hybrid
A 2,5473,6601084830586,856
B 1,11081806001,934
C 1342060200342
D 101100000120
E 579000084
F 710000017
G 6200008
Not available1000001
Total3,8204,8851084910589,362
Table 2B: Number of new private cars licensed for the first time by CO2 emission band and fuel type, January-May 2018
BandFuel TypeTotal
PetrolDieselElectricPetrol & electric hybridDiesel & electric hybridPetrol or Diesel plug-in electric hybrid
A 19,89433,6894904,177139658,647
B 8,9557,48301480016,586
C 9991,829023002,851
D 1354890100625
E 514070000458
F 40640000104
G 226000028
Not available220000022
Total30,09843,9874904,349139679,321
Table 3: Number of new and used (imported) private cars licensed for the first time by make, May 2018
MakeMay January - May
NewUsed (imported)Total NewUsed (imported)Total
Audi 3937301,1233,1563,7606,916
BMW 3387291,0672,5833,2415,824
Citroen 932073007111,0001,711
Dacia 319283472,0711402,211
Fiat 9270162399309708
Ford 6071,0481,6557,2424,97712,219
Honda 582763348421,0891,931
Hyundai 7736181,3917,6083,03910,647
Jaguar 5358111392261653
Kia 5422628044,7931,3416,134
Land Rover 9847145708237945
Lexus 12132144286651937
Mazda 1441522961,4446972,141
Mercedes Benz 3034957982,9702,1565,126
Mini 3782119342387729
Mitsubishi 4593138451415866
Nissan 4895611,0506,3292,6118,940
Opel 49925012,73022,732
Peugeot 4582547123,4341,2264,660
Renault 6931918844,2738825,155
Seat 306923982,2595042,763
Skoda 8942641,1585,7021,2336,935
Ssangyong 42644751
Subaru 11142511333146
Suzuki 7142113702233935
Toyota 7905821,3727,8082,79810,606
Vauxhall 044944902,1322,132
Volkswagen 1,0611,0572,1188,6315,36513,996
Volvo 1342033371,0601,0782,138
Other 4582127238395633
Total 9,3628,82218,184 79,32142,199121,520
The information in this table is available in much greater detail in Databases (see StatBank link below)
X-axis labelUnadjusted dataAdjusted dataTrend
May-13709564536406
Jun-13329367186601
Jul-13930648926820
Aug-13450454637075
Sep-13325761867361
Oct-13283269537618
Nov-13130772457807
Dec-1363976917916
Jan-141597577237949
Feb-141190674577908
Mar-141148574237825
Apr-141175782047746
May-14776777237691
Jun-14339074967677
Jul-141403772757726
Aug-14620179847852
Sep-14437681968060
Oct-14308280608357
Nov-14146588408708
Dec-14920114799056
Jan-152010593249362
Feb-151538495849607
Mar-1517054101979797
Apr-151316698339964
May-159027996610160
Jun-153924940910411
Jul-15212901070510686
Aug-1585721121510958
Sep-1559241144911231
Oct-1539431134211476
Nov-1518741145111686
Dec-158471160111866
Jan-16271061227411978
Feb-16211731251911989
Mar-16200961152211904
Apr-16148471208911760
May-16101251129011633
Jun-1641431112111600
Jul-16224621180111640
Aug-1697811200311692
Sep-1658421160411662
Oct-1638311190311518
Nov-1618461127511302
Dec-166791048111063
Jan-17266681115710864
Feb-17169051048510739
Mar-17171801090810670
Apr-17134271071310629
May-1795811046810582
Jun-1735851026510500
Jul-17213161081410392
Aug-1781051018210280
Sep-1748281020210178
Oct-173255994610114
Nov-1715941001310072
Dec-176011005710051
Jan-18258131018210046
Feb-18165011020510047
Mar-18160889912
Apr-18115579762
May-18936210214
Table 4: Seasonally adjusted number of vehicles licensed for the first time classified by taxation class
Taxation classMay-17Apr-18May-18Monthly % change
New vehicles    
New private cars 10,4689,76210,2144.6
New goods vehicles 1,9022,2282,2651.7
New tractors 160172163-5.2
New motor cycles 1111121239.8
New exempt vehicles 4535055488.5
New other 167127126-0.8
Total new vehicles 13,26112,90613,4394.1
    
Used (imported) vehicles    
Used private cars 7,3518,1818,4363.1
Used goods vehicles 1,2251,3001,282-1.4
Used tractors 226192176-8.3
Used motorcycles 2562612610.0
Used other vehicles 475523494-5.5
Total used vehicles 9,53310,45710,6491.8
    
Total all vehicles 22,79423,36324,0883.1
X-axis label20142015201620172018 to date
<1 year old1.61.12.11.90.5
1-2 years old15.611.113.216.716.4
3-5 years old49.650.447.849.251.8
6-9 years old24.327.729.727.326.1
Over 10 years old8.99.87.34.85.2
Table 5: Number of new and used (imported) private cars licensed for the first time
Private cars20112012201320142015201620172018 Jan-May
New86,93276,25671,34892,361121,110141,931127,04579,321
Used (imported) 41,14938,46949,76252,86347,21770,13892,50842,199
Total128,081114,725121,110145,224168,327212,069219,553121,520
% used (imported)32.1%33.5%41.1%36.4%28.1%33.1%42.1%34.7%

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)
May January - MayMay January - May
20172018 20172018 20172018 20172018
Petrol3,2263,820 25,61430,0981,3441,562 6,5577,076
Diesel6,0484,885 55,00343,9876,1476,740 30,21332,867
Electric34108 3594903166 154280
Hybrid273549 2,7854,746210453 9351,975
Other00 0001 11
Total9,5819,362 83,76179,321 7,7328,822 37,86042,199

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.

upArrowHide Background Notes

Scan the QR code below to view this release online or go to
http://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/er/vlftm/vehicleslicensedforthefirsttimemay2018/