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A boost from the '132' plate, but overall drop of 6.4 per cent in new cars licensed in 2013

The new bi-annual registration system helped create an increase in sales mid year, but overall 5,000 fewer new cars were licensed.

Image: File Photo - Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire/Press Association Images

THERE WAS A drop of 6.4 per cent in the number of new cars licensed in 2013, compared to the previous 12 months, according to the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office.

Despite a boost in the middle of the year coinciding with the introduction of the new ’132′ registration plate, just 71,348 private cars were licensed, compared to 76,256 last year.

There was a corresponding increase in the number of imported used cars licensed — rising 29.4 per cent to 49,762.

Director General of car dealers’ body the SIMI Alan Nolan said that, though 2013 had been a poor year, it would have been far worse without the new number plate system.

“Car sales recovered in the second half of the year after a slow first half with July, the first month of the new dual plate, up 160% on the previous July,” Nolan said.

He said that, in spite of the low level of new car sales, there was an increase in employment in the sector, with 1,000 new jobs created. Nolan also pointed to an increase in activity on forecourts so far this year, “which may be a result of pent up demand from people holding off buying last year”.

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Licensing differs from registration in that a vehicle is only considered officially licensed when a valid motor tax disc is issued for it. ‘Registration’ happens when a vehicle gets its licence plate (registration number) for the first time.

Licensing data is considered a better true reflection of car 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.

Read: Here’s how the 132 number plate did in its first 13 days

Video : Motoring industry explains reasons for new number plates>

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Daragh Brophy

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