By Aine Kenny
The number of new cars licensed for the first time last month has dropped by nearly 84% when compared to May 2019, according to new figures released by the CSO.The number of new cars licensed in May 2020 was just 1,490. In May 2019, it was 9,126.
The Covid-19 pandemic and the associated lockdown has hit the car sales industry hard, with the number of vehicles licensed in the first five months of 2020 falling by over 57,000 when compared to the same period of 2019.
The number of new cars licensed so far in 2020 is 46,995, compared to last year's 73,781.
However, it seems that consumers were still trying to be eco-friendly during the pandemic. The number of new hybrid cars licensed in the first five months of 2020 was higher than the same period last year.
In the first five months of 2020, almost one in five new cars were hybrid or electric vehicles, with 7,132 being licensed during this time.
During the same period last year, only one in eight cars were electric or hybrid, with only 6,903 being licensed in 2019.
The CSO figures are based on the National Vehicle and Driver File, compiled by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.
A vehicle is licensed when the annual car tax due on the vehicle is paid for the first time.