Sales of new cars in the UK climbed to 162,288 in May, some 7.9 per cent higher than the year before, latest industry figures reveal.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said the rise in registrations was the highest for 23 months, boosted by a 14.3 per cent leap in private sales.
The fleet market was up 4.8 per cent, ending a three month decline.
Paul Everitt, SMMT’s chief executive, said: “May’s 7.9 per cent increase in new car registrations is good news for the motor industry and the UK economy, particularly the steady growth in demand from private buyers.
“The consistent climb in new car registrations during the first five months of the year suggests that confidence is returning, despite financial uncertainty in the Eurozone.”
Overall car sales were more than six per cent higher than SMMT’s monthly forecast.
May’s best selling car was the Vauxhall Corsa with sales of 8.413 over the month.
But the Ford Fiesta is still Britain’s most popular new car, with 50,507 sold in the first five months of this year, the figures show.
The alternative fuel sector grew 31.8 per cent, while petrol and diesel cars also recorded growth in the month and the year to date.
New models boosted the Mini segment, which leapt 85.8 per cent in May.