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September saw a 5.6% increase in new car registrationsReuters

More people than ever are buying new cars, with new registrations hitting the highest level in a decade during September, according to new data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Figures showed that 425,861 new cars were registered in the month of September - a surge of 5.6% and the biggest increase for the month since 2004. This brought the total for the year to 1,958,196.

March of this year saw an 18% jump: with September's growth added, these two months account for a third of the whole year's registrations.

September's increase means it's the 31st consecutive month of growth, proving the market for new cars is in rude health.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, "Demand for the new 64-plate has been boosted by intensifying confidence in the UK economy, with consumers attracted by a wide range of exciting, increasingly fuel-efficient, new cars.

"In the months since March – which saw an 18% jump in registrations – the growth has shown signs of levelling off as the market starts to find its natural running rate."

The Ford Fiesta was the bestselling car in September as the American manufacturer sold 23,266 models, and the Ford Focus occupies second having sold 13,508.

The Volkswagen Golf (13,011), Vauxhall Corsa (12,506) and Volkswagen Polo (10,312) make up the top five.