Sales of new cars jumped by almost one third in the first three months of the year as the strong recovery in the motor trade continues.
Figures from the CSO show that new car sales rose by 30.1% in the first three months of the year.
The CSO said 68,375 new private cars were licensed in the first three months of 2016 compared to a figure of 52,543 for the corresponding period last year. The number of used or imported cars also increased in the first quarter, rising by 8.2%.
In March, the number of new cars licensed rose by 17.8% to 20,096. A total of 5,276 used cars were also licensed, up 17.5% on the same month last year.
Volkswagen was the most popular make of new car sold last month, with 2,456 new VWs leaving forecourts. This was followed by Toyota (2,030), Hyundai (2,009), Nissan (1,921) and Ford (1,507).
Yesterday’s CSO figures also reveal that seven out of every 10 cars registered in March run on diesel.
Responding to the CSO figures, the Society of the Irish Motor Industry said they were based on the number of cars registered for road tax at the end of the month and, therefore, some cars registered towards the end of the month may not be included.
“Society of the Irish Motor Industry stats record the number of new cars registered, and for the first quarter the total new cars registered is 82,882 currently 28% ahead of the same period last year (64,519),” said the society’s deputy director general Brian Cooke.
“For the month of March car sales were up 14% (21,597) in comparison to March 2015 (18,933). For the first quarter, light commercial sales are up 34% and heavy commercial vehicles are up 63% on the same period last year.
“Overall, the CSO stats are in line with our own stats as they show a strong first quarter in new car sales and we would expect to see continued growth in both car registrations and commercial sales for 2016,” Mr Cooke said.
“New car sales are being driven by consumer confidence and, with the better availability of good finance offers and a wider range of purchase options from various brands, consumers have great choice at the moment,” he said.
Reflecting on the huge rise in the sale of diesel-powered vehicles, Mr Cook said diesel cars have lower CO2 emissions than petrol cars which will mean lower VRT and motor tax for the motorist doing high mileage and, therefore, diesel can be the more economical choice.