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Sales within the UK car industry posted its largest year-on-year increase in more than a decade, and attained their highest volume since the credit crunch, after more than 2 million vehicles were sold last year.
Last year's growth rate was the fastest in 11 years, bolstered by a 12.9% rise in demand from private individuals, who bought 106,346 of the 2,044,609 units sold.
The overall rise in registrations was the second annual increase since the start of the downturn in 2008, though the market remained 14.9% below its pre-recession peak in 2007, when 2.4 million cars were sold.
In December, 123,557 cars were registered, 3.7% more than in December 2011.
The biggest seller was the Ford Fiesta, which sold more than 109,000 units, followed by the Vauxhall Corsa with 89,000 units and the Ford Focus on 83,000.
Only two of the top 10 vehicles were made in the UK. The Vauxhall Astra - made in Ellesmere Port - came in fourth with 63,000 units, with the Nissan Qashqai, made in the UK's largest car factory in Sunderland, achieving a sixth-placed ranking with 45,000 sales.
However, sales of UK-built cars rose 11% in 2012. The remaining UK-manufactured vehicles are exported, with more than eight out of 10 British-made vehicles sold abroad. Those include Jaguar Land Rover cars such as the Evoque - not in the domestic top 10 - that is taking China by storm.
Looking ahead to 2013, the market has been anticipated to hold firm, with manufacturers and dealers working hard to deliver quality and value to motorists.
For more information on the UK car industry, see the latest research: UK Car Industry
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