Last year saw the biggest increase in new car sales for more than a decade, figures released today show.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said 2,044,609 new cars were sold in 2012, an increase of 5.3 per cent and the highest amount since 2008.
The increase was the biggest since 2001, with a 3.7 per cent increase in December alone compared with the same month in 2011.
The SMMT said the figures were boosted by strong consumer demand and driven by innovative, fuel-efficient vehicles.
Spokesman Mr Everitt said: "Boosted by strong consumer demand, the market grew at its fastest rate for 11 years with innovative, fuel-efficient cars keeping buyers in showrooms."
But despite the positive figures, the car market as a whole was 14.9 per cent below the 2.4 million sales in 2007.
Last year saw a 12.9 per cent increase in private demand for new cars, while diesel cars took a record 50.8 per cent market share. Just over a million diesel cars were sold, compared with 978,000 petrol vehicles.
Private sales of new cars increased from 823,000 to 929,000 and fleet sales increased by 0.6 per cent, but business sales fell by 9.5 per cent.