New car registrations in the UK rose 6.2% on year in June and 10.6% for the first half, as consumer demand for efficiency boosted sales of alternatively-fuelled vehicles.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said new car registrations rose 6.2% to 228,291 units in June to help raise half-year registrations to about 1.3 million units – the best half-year performance since 2005.
The industry group added that registrations for alternatively-fuelled vehicles rose 51.3% to 23,337 units year-to-date, reflecting the demand for efficiency. During the same period, registrations of pure-electric cars have more than doubled.
"Improving economic conditions have helped propel the UK new car market to a strong first half-year performance, with registrations up 10.6% on the same period in 2013," Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said in a statement.
"Key to attracting consumers is the ever-improving efficiency of new cars, an important factor that is highlighted by the 51.3% increase in alternatively-fuelled vehicle registrations so far this year."
The SMMT noted that car manufacturers are investing billions in increasing new car efficiency, and motorists are benefiting from lower running costs. Increased efficiency has reduced carbon emissions, with average UK new car CO2 output falling 6.5% between the first quarter and the second quarter.
It also said the UK car market is on track to achieve 2.4 million registrations in 2014, up more than 6% on the previous year. However, growth in the industry is apparently stabilising.
"The overall market has risen faster than we were expecting but, after a bumper March, growth is showing signs of stabilising around our forecast level," Hawes added.
The Ford Fiesta remained the best selling model in June, representing 11,213 registrations for the month and 70,153 registrations for the year-to-date period.
The Vauxhall Corsa claimed the No 2 spot for the month with 7,961 units, while it was the third-largest selling model for the year-to-date period.
The Ford Focus had 44,754 registrations for the first six months of 2014 – the second largest for the period. The model was the third-best selling for the month of June at 7,399 units.