The latest rolling 12-month new car loans data from the Finance & Leasing Association covers 2012 and reveals a total value of £9.408 billion.
This was a 36% increase on 2011.
The total of new cars sold in this way (662,052) increased by nearly 140,000 (27%).
Paul Harrison, FLA head of motor finance, said: “The factors underpinning consumer confidence in motor finance seem likely to continue.
"Customers want good deals and are finding them.”
Harrison said the number of cars financed by FLA members is at its highest level since before the start in 2008 of the financial crisis.
December finance was 29% up
December is always a quiet one for new car sales, but FLA statistics reveal sharp rises this year compared to 2011.
The value of advances to retail buyers was 29% up at £633 million on 41,056 cars (23% up).
In the three months to December loans rose by 39% to £2.228bn on 153,286 units (34% higher).
Dealer finance for used cars bought by retail customers also showed gains.
The total sold in December was 47,246 (10% up year-on-year) with loans 16% ahead at £469m.
Business car loans down 6%
The volume of new cars bought by businesses on showroom loans in December (28,107) was 6% lower than a year earlier, when 29,617 were bought.
There were, though, longer-term gains.
The 94,924 sold in the three months to December was 2% higher and last year’s total of 396,343 was 5% up on 2011.
Dealer financed used cars sold to businesses in December plunged by 50% to 3,215.
There were though two 40% increases: to 17,019 used cars in the final quarter and to 62,317 in the whole of 2012.