More than 33,000 people bought new cars using car finance in January, according to the latest figures from the Finance & Leasing Association.
This was a 42% increase in the value of new car finance provided to consumers compared with the same period last year.
January is traditionally a slow month for sales of cars on dealer finance, and the increase on last January's 27,000 cars bought on finance reflects the low-rate deals offered by lenders- many at 0% interest.
Motor finance providers are also accepting lower deposits from customers. In the last 12 months, 63.5% of all private new car sales were bought using motor finance.
It was also a good month for dealers selling used car finance to consumers with volumes 14% higher this January than in January 2011.
There was similar news in the business finance market with a rise of 22% in the number of new and used cars financed compared with January last year.
Paul Harrison, head of motor finance at the FLA, said: “These figures are striking for January, when customers often reduce expenditure after Christmas.
“But good offers at dealerships have attracted customers - and people have taken full advantage of the low rates available on motor finance."