Volkswagen GolfIrish new car sales rose by 30 per cent in 2014 to over 96,000 units, smashing start-of-year predictions.

More than 22,000 additional new cars were sold in Ireland in 2014 than in 2013 – and the market is expected to continue its rise into 2015.

Michael Rockford, managing director of Motorcheck.ie said: “It’s been a really positive year for the motor trade all round.

“Early indications are that the positive trends will continue in 2015 with new car sales predicted to break the magical 100,000 units.”

Top-selling Irish car brand was Volkswagen, with the Golf also leading the market with a 23 per cent year on year rise.

Ireland’s second favourite new car was the Nissan Qashqai, followed by the Ford Focus, Ford Fiesta and Toyota Corolla.

Behind Volkswagen in the top brand stakes were Toyota, Ford, Hyundai and Nissan.

New motorcycle sales also rose 25 per cent, albeit only to just over 1,000 units, while the used car market rose 6.3 per cent to 835,000 transactions.

However, despite its rapid growth, the Irish new car market still has some way to go before it beats the previous high of 142,000 cars back in 2008.