December saw many dealers and carmakers begin highlighting the January 1 return to 17.5% VAT.
This was an opportunity to encourage prospective buyers to put down their deposit on a new car ahead of the 2.5% increase.
This, and continuing scrappage offers, helped lift December’s registrations by 38.9% to 150,936 units from December 2008’s 108,691 units.
That put it well ahead of pre-recession December 2007’s 137,960 units and made it the third best December on record and highest since 2005.
Scrappage accounted for a provisional 20.8% of December 2009 volumes, according to the SMMT.
The volume shifters of the month were Ford, Volkswagen, Vauxhall, BMW, Peugeot, Mercedes-Benz, Citroën, Nissan and Toyota.