IMPORTS of bargain secondhand cars accounted for almost €500m last year.

This was in addition to the €2.1bn spent on new cars.

Government end-of-year figures for 2010 show that 88,373 new cars were bought, but 40,490 used cars were also registered.

And among the list of secondhand imports were 70 Porsches, eight Rolls Royces, six Bentleys, four Aston Martins, four Lotuses, three Ferraris, and three Maseratis, all in the super-luxury and high-performance league.

The most popular executive imports were German brands, with Audi topping the table at 3,928 followed by BMW at 3,656 and Mercedes Benz at 1,259, all of which were re-registered into Irish ownership.

Other popular models in this segment were Jaguar at 268, Lexus at 233 and Land Rover/ Range Rover at 171.