Almost 143,000 new private cars were licensed for the first time
New figures show the number of used private cars licensed in 2016 rose by 46.9% to 69,381 when compared with 47,217 in 2015.
The Central Statistics Office (CSO) say this is the highest annual number of used cars licensed on record.
While 142,688 new private cars were licensed for the first time last year.
That is an increase of 17.8% compared with the previous year.
According to the CSO, the number of new cars licensed in 2016 still remains below the most recent peak of 2007, when 180,754 new private cars were licensed.
When compared with December 2015, the number of new private cars licensed in December 2016 fell by 18.3% to 692.
The number of used cars licensed in December more than doubled to 6,357.
Every county showed an increase in the number of new cars licensed in 2016 - with 14 counties having over 3,000 new cars licensed in 2016.
Almost half (47.9%) of all new cars licensed in the country in 2016 were licensed in Dublin (35.2%) and Cork (12.7%) combined.
The figures also show that Volkswagen (15,163) was the most popular make of new private cars licensed in 2016, followed by Toyota (14,772), Hyundai (14,682), Ford (14,208) and Nissan (11,561).
Together these five makes represent half (49.3%) of all new cars licensed.
While seven out of every ten (70.0%) new cars licensed in 2016 were diesel, and almost eight out of every ten (78.0%) were in the lowest CO2 emissions band A.
There was also an increase of 22.6% in the number of new goods vehicles licensed in 2016, and this is the highest since 2008.