Fewer new cars sold - but imports surge
The number of new private cars registered last year fell by 10.5pc - but the number of imports soared.
New figures from the Central Statistics Office showed 127,045 new private cars were registered for the first time in 2017, compared with 141,931 the previous year.
However, the number of used or imported private cars registered rose by nearly 32pc to 92,508, the highest annual number on record.
Overall, 219,533 new and used private cars were registered last year, the highest figure since 2007. Nearly half (48pc) of all new private cars registered in the country last year were in Dublin (36pc) and Cork (12pc) combined.
The most popular colour for new private cars was grey (37pc), followed by black (19pc) and white (15pc).
Volkswagen (13,609) was the most popular make of new private car registered, followed by Toyota (12,207), Ford (11,660), Hyundai (11,127) and Nissan (9,954).
The most popular model was the Hyundai Tucson.
"In terms of first registrations in the State, which is new plus used imports, I think 2017 is quite similar to 2016 - it's just the mix of the two has changed," said the Society of the Irish Motor Industry's deputy director general Brian Cooke.
"The obvious reason for that is the weakening of sterling arising from the UK's decision to leave the EU.
"Not only does it actually make UK imports more attractive, it impacts on the residual values of used cars in Ireland as well."
A lot of those used imported cars would have been brought in by the trade itself, said Mr Cooke.
So far this year, "we are off to a good start", he said, but believed there would be a concern that February and March might not be as strong as those months last year.
"If it looks like Britain is going to be in a position to negotiate a favourable deal, then I think sterling will strengthen, and that will help new car sales," Mr Cooke added.