Registrations of new cars and light utility vehicles rose by 4.24% to 173,478 in the Czech Republic in 2006 compared with the previous year, the Association of Car Importers reportedly announced on Friday.

Registration of new cars fell by 3,389, or 2.66%, to 123,987 but those of light utility vehicles soared by 10,444, or 26.75%, to 49,491 over the same period, it added, according to Reuters.

Czech automaker Skoda topped both categories, accounting for 41.81% of new car registrations and 23.91% of light utility vehicles, the report said. Renault was second in car registrations with 6.58% followed by Volkswagen with 5.75%, Hyundai 4.86%, Peugeot 4.66% and Ford with 4.37%.

According to Reuters, the association highlighted a 29.9% surge to 183,143 in registrations of imported older vehicles following a rules change on 1 July.