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Extra information
For more information on this release:
E-mail: transport@cso.ie Esther Deane (+353) 21 453 5322 Aileen O'Carroll (+353) 21 453 5782
For general information on CSO statistics:
information@cso.ie (+353) 21 453 5000 On-line ISSN 2009-5678
CSO statistical release, , 11am

Vehicles licensed for the first time

May 2019

 May January - May
20182019Change 20182019Change
New private cars9,3629,126-236-2.5% 79,32173,781-5,540-7.0%
New goods vehicles2,5392,514-25-1.0% 13,92112,779-1,142-8.2%
Total new vehicles13,01512,863-152-1.2% 99,17892,891-6,287-6.3%
          
Used private cars8,8229,0622402.7% 42,19943,6961,4973.5%
Used goods vehicles1,4161,385-31-2.2% 6,4476,45470.1%
Total used vehicles11,46611,9204544.0% 53,45355,7192,2664.2%

Decrease of 2.5% in new private cars licensed in May 2019

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

In May 2019, 9,126 new private cars were licensed, a drop of 2.5% compared with May 2018. The number of used (imported) private cars licensed increased by 2.7% compared with the same period in 2018.

In the first five months of 2019, a total of 73,781 new private cars were licensed, a decrease of 7.0% compared with the same period last year. The number of used (imported) private cars licensed increased by 3.5% compared with the same period in 2018. 

  • The licensing figures also show that:

    • Volkswagen (1,141) was the most popular make of new private car licensed followed by Toyota (1,015), Renault (674), Opel (668) and Ford (610). Together these five makes represent less than half (45.0%) of all new private cars licensed in May 2019. See table 3.
    • In the first five months of 2019, just under half (47.5%) of all new private cars licensed were diesel, compared with 55.5% in the same period for 2018. Of new private cars licensed in the same period, 92.0% were in the A/B CO2 emissions bands. See table 2B.
    • There was a decrease of 1.0% in the number of new goods vehicles licensed in May 2019 bringing the total to 2,514. See table 1.
    • On a seasonally adjusted basis, new private cars licensed decreased by 1.7% in May 2019 compared with April 2019. The number of seasonally adjusted used (imported) private cars licensed increased by 1.7% over the same period. See table 4 and figure 4.
    • In 2019 to date, 0.5% of imported private cars licensed were less than one year old (vehicles previously registered abroad in 2019) while 2,388 (5.5%) were ten years or older. See table 5 and figure 5.
    • There were 35,032 new diesel private cars licensed in the first five months of 2019, compared with 43,987 in the same period in 2018. For used (imported) diesel private cars, the total licensed was 31,680 in the first five months of 2019. This compares with 32,867 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 2019
Volkswagen12.5
Toyota11.1
Renault7.4
Opel7.3
Ford6.7
Other55.0
Most popular makes of new cars, May 2018
Volkswagen11.3
Toyota8.4
Renault7.4
Opel5.3
Ford6.5
Other61.0
Table 1: Number of vehicles licensed for the first time classified by taxation class
Taxation ClassMay January - May
201720182019 201720182019
New vehicles    
New Private Cars 9,5819,3629,126 83,76179,32173,781
New Goods Vehicles 2,1852,5392,514 13,25813,92112,779
New Tractors 240243264 9481,0821,206
New Motor Cycles 142154214 715710919
New Exempt Vehicles 453541491 3,2333,3143,251
New Other 232176254 849830955
Total New Vehicles 12,83313,01512,863 102,76499,17892,891
       
Used (imported) vehicles       
Used private cars 7,7328,8229,062 37,86042,19943,696
Used goods vehicles 1,3401,4161,385 5,9176,4476,454
Used tractors 304237295 1,1339841,181
Used motorcycles 367374456 1,3441,3581,598
Used other vehicles 595617722 2,4182,4652,790
Total used vehicles 10,33811,46611,920 48,67253,45355,719
        
Total all vehicles 23,17124,48124,783 151,436152,631148,610
Table 2A: Number of new private cars licensed for the first time by CO2 emission band and fuel type, May 2019
BandFuel TypeTotal
PetrolDieselElectricPetrol & electric hybridDiesel & electric hybridPetrol or Diesel plug-in electric hybrid
A 2,2762,3892578310805,833
B 1,2741,227013002,514
C 1892040100394
D 331310000164
E 61690000175
F 530020037
G 2500007
Not available0200002
Total3,7854,1572578470809,126
Table 2B: Number of new private cars licensed for the first time by CO2 emission band and fuel type, January-May 2019
BandFuel TypeTotal
PetrolDieselElectricPetrol & electric hybridDiesel & electric hybridPetrol or Diesel plug-in electric hybrid
A 17,52519,1241,8675,939076545,220
B 10,59011,89201790022,661
C 1,4721,753012003,237
D 3021,41203001,717
E 455970200644
F 272260300256
G 1814000032
Not available014000014
Total29,97935,0321,8676,138076573,781
Table 3: Number of new and used (imported) private cars licensed for the first time by make, May 2019
MakeMay January - May
NewUsed (imported)Total NewUsed (imported)Total
Audi 3878671,2542,7643,9736,737
BMW 5817191,3002,4863,4495,935
Citroen 1162223385909661,556
Dacia 214272411,9001212,021
Fiat 1984103243390633
Ford 6109911,6016,1144,79210,906
Honda 632753388111,1151,926
Hyundai 5955951,1907,1743,40010,574
Jaguar 3274106301343644
Kia 4632857484,0941,3605,454
Land Rover 63911547393531,092
Lexus 27110137305565870
Mazda 751342091,0797121,791
Mercedes Benz 2526008521,9963,1785,174
Mini 3584119273423696
Mitsubishi 481291776176681,285
Nissan 4565199755,7342,5568,290
Opel 66846722,61662,622
Peugeot 4612737343,4701,2454,715
Renault 6742319054,5568925,448
Seat 397964932,2815112,792
Skoda 5562167725,8171,1286,945
Ssangyong 11219625
Subaru 81422514293
Suzuki 6247109750230980
Toyota 1,0155801,5957,3542,96110,315
Vauxhall 038438401,9001,900
Volkswagen 1,1411,1082,2498,4665,05913,525
Volvo 852142999751,0151,990
Other 2288110206337543
Total 9,1269,06218,188 73,78143,696117,477
The information in this table is available in much greater detail in Databases (see StatBank link below)
X-axis labelUnadjusted dataAdjusted dataTrend
May 2014776777437753
June 2014339075677723
July 20141403771957753
August 2014620179457863
September 2014437681838064
October 2014308280678365
November 2014146588478728
December 2014920115579091
January 20152010593619405
February 20151538496159639
March 201517054102289801
April 20151316698179933
May 20159027994110094
June 20153924949910326
July 2015212901063010603
August 201585721116310897
September 201559241144211205
October 201539431135711490
November 201518741149211730
December 20158471167411923
January 2016271061232212030
February 2016211731258012021
March 2016200961153511907
April 2016148471201311727
May 2016101251126211574
June 201641431100911530
July 2016224621172611571
August 201697811195311635
September 201658421156211630
October 201638311199611523
November 201618461117811341
December 20166791052511131
January 2017266681131410933
February 2017169051063910774
March 2017171801085310643
April 2017134271052210523
May 201795811043710420
June 20173585980410321
July 2017213161074110233
August 201781051009910158
September 201748281010010109
October 201732551024610107
November 20171594966610118
December 20176011005510117
January 2018258131048010105
February 2018165011052510095
March 201816088970910067
April 201811557949710044
May 201893621016310002
June 20183716103859936
July 20182074398759858
August 2018768196639748
September 2018439795919593
October 2018287490369426
November 2018164797129323
December 2018778130599308
January 20192227991399369
February 20191417892099485
March 2019144049778
April 2019137949962
May 201991269797
Table 4: Seasonally adjusted number of vehicles licensed for the first time classified by taxation class
Taxation classMay 2018April 2019May 2019Monthly % change
New vehicles    
New private cars 10,1639,9629,797-1.7
New goods vehicles 2,1911,9172,0919.1
New tractors 165192180-6.3
New motor cycles 12315517110.3
New exempt vehicles 5394674864.1
New other 1221611737.5
Total new vehicles 13,30312,85412,8980.3
    
Used (imported) vehicles    
Used private cars 8,4028,4788,6241.7
Used goods vehicles 1,2721,2431,237-0.5
Used tractors 175226219-3.1
Used motorcycles 26127932215.4
Used other vehicles 4895605722.1
Total used vehicles 10,59910,78610,9741.7
    
Total all vehicles 23,90223,64023,8721.0
X-axis label20152016201720182019 to date
<1 year old1.12.11.91.90.5
1-2 years old11.113.216.718.316.5
3-5 years old50.447.849.250.850.0
6-9 years old27.729.727.324.427.5
Over 10 years old9.87.34.84.65.5

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 5: Number of new and used (imported) private cars licensed for the first time
Private cars20152016201720182019 Jan-May
New121,110141,931127,045121,15773,781
Used (imported) 47,21770,13892,50899,45643,696
Total168,327212,069219,553220,613117,477
% used (imported)28.1%33.1%42.1%45.1%37.2%
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
20182019 20182019 20182019 20182019
Petrol3,8203,785 30,09829,9791,5621,824 7,0768,594
Diesel4,8854,157 43,98735,0326,7406,487 32,86731,680
Electric108257 4901,8676637 280214
Hybrid549927 4,7466,903453712 1,9753,203
Other00 0012 15
Total9,3629,126 79,32173,781 8,8229,062 42,19943,696
 

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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