Figures for the year to date show that large fleet (25-plus vehicles) registrations have reached 1.02 million, while private registrations are 1.14 million.
The running total for business registrations (10-25 vehicle fleets) is 257,912 illustrating that corporate sales are boosting the UK car market where retail sales are declining.
Private registrations are down 4.1% compared with last year, and in November fell by 0.5% on November 2003.
However, fleet registrations are 3.2% higher than last year (and were 5.8% higher last month than in November 2003), and business registrations are 7% higher than last year.
If December’s overall car market is just 500 registrations higher than in 2003, then 2004 will be another record in the UK.
Christopher Macgowan, SMMT chief executive, said: ‘November’s new car market was the second-largest on record, boosting registrations towards a fourth consecutive record annual total.
‘While the December market is difficult to predict, 156,135 new cars would see another record total.’
The Ford Focus was the best-selling car overall in November, with nearly 1,500 more registrations than the Vauxhall Astra in second place.
However, the Focus was the second best-selling diesel car during November, with the Volkswagen Golf taking top honours.
The diesel market also grew for the 50th consecutive month, making the full year tally more likely to better the forecast of 820,000 units and 32% market share.