New car registrations saw an increase of 3.5% in June to 189,514 units according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive believes the demand was driven by demand from genuine private buyers, pushing 2012 volumes through the one million mark.
The rise in volumes are 2.5% ahead of the average June figures for the previous three years but are still 15% below pre-recessionary levels in 2007.
Scotland led the growth in June’s new car registrations up 9.3% to 16,694 units.
Wales saw a 4.7% rise to 6,216, England saw a 3.48% rise to 161,251 units and Northern Ireland was the only region not to see growth last month with a drop of 0.53% to 4,901 units.
Everitt said: “Despite domestic and international economic concerns, UK motorists are responding positively to new products and the latest fuel-efficient technology.
“The industry has performed better than expected in the first half of the year and we will now need to work hard to sustain growth.”
Registrations in Q2 rose 4.8% and over the first half of the year have risen 2.7% to over one million units.
The market was some 5% ahead of the SMMT forecast for Q2 (as set in April) with the annual running total at 1.97 million units in June.
The SMMT believe the growth is encouraging, given the subdued economic setting and compares with the full year 2011 total of 1.94 million units and a full year 2012 forecast of 1.95 million units.
Private volumes rose 8.7% over the first half of the year and picked up in recent months, rising 9.8% in June. Fleet volumes are on par with last year, while business demand has fallen.
Alternatively-fuelled car registrations posted a 47.8% rise in June, while diesel volumes also rose, pushing their market share over the first half of the year up from 50% a year ago to 51.2%.
Improvements in new car fuel efficiency saw CO2 emissions fall to 134.1g/km over the first half of 2012, down 4% on a year ago and 2.9% compared with 2011’s full year figure of 138.1g/km.
New models helped the mini segment registrations rise 82.5% in June. The dual purpose and executive segments also posted double digit-growth in the month.
The Ford Fiesta was the best-selling model in June and over the first half of 2012.
David Raistrick, UK manufacturing leader at Deloitte, said: “While incessant wet weather across the UK has hurt the high street retail sales earlier this year, it does not seem to be troubling car retailers yet.
"New car sales in June 2012 has increased for the fourth consecutive month and performed positively compared to the same time last year, despite June being the wettest month since records began in 1910. While our economic challenges cannot be solely blamed on our changing climate, consumers tend to stay indoors rather than go to dealerships when the weather is poor so this is good news for manufacturing."
Raistrick also highlighted how the UK is outperforming Europe. There have been significant contractions, ranging between 7% and 19% over the first 5 months of FY12 in the Spanish, Belgian French and Italian markets. In Germany, the initial gains achieved from January to April have almost been wiped out by the 5% contraction in May.
Raistrick said: "This would suggest the current financial woes being experienced in continental Europe are directly affecting new car sales in the major automotive markets. The new car buyer in the UK is having the confidence to go ahead with their purchase on the basis that all indicators point to interest rates staying low with the added benefit that there are plenty of attractively priced products available to entice customers into the dealerships.”
Sue Robinson, director of the RMI National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), said: "It is very encouraging that new car sales increased again in June with a boost to private registrations of 9.8%.
“Customers are being tempted back into the showroom with some great offers on new cars. This is coupled with consumers still looking to reduce motoring costs by buying vehicles with lower maintenance costs and better fuel economy. Consumer confidence is however still fragile, particularly with the successive crises within the Eurozone and the recent issues in the banking sector.”
Biggest growers to date
Land Rover 46.03%
Biggest fallers to date
Alfa Romeo -36.44%
Aston Martin -25%