The sales in May 2012 were the largest in a long time as a total of 162,288 new cars took to the road.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) had their forecasts smashed by the figure that is up nearly 8% on May 2011.
Car dealers can be in a good mood thanks to this but it is also a welcome boost to the economy as the act of purchasing a new car is clearly a sign of confidence.
The rise was partly due to a 14% increase in sales to private buyers and companies have also been seen to show confidence as they have updated their vehicles – for example, fleet sales were up nearly 5% last month.
SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt told the BBC: “May’s 7.9% increase in new car registrations is good news for the motor industry and the UK economy.
“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.”
The best selling car in that successful month was the Vauxhall Corsa, however, the Ford Fiesta remains the most popular car in the UK so far this year, with 50,507 sold in 2012 to date.
The UK automotive industry has an annual turnover of about £49bn, accounting for more than 10% of total exports, and employs 700,000 people.
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Picture: Stuart Chapman