Fleet new car registrations were up by 24.4% last month compared to January 2009, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturer and Traders (SMMT).
And when both fleet and business registrations were taken into account, it equated to 80,364 cars out of a total of 145,479 – a 55.2% share of the market.
Overall, it was the seventh consecutive monthly gain despite the cold weather and the VAT increase, which pulled some registrations into the end of 2009.
However, the January 2010 market was 16,618 units short of the January 2008 figure, but remained up on January 2009 by 29.8% due to the severity of last year’s decline.
“The 29.8% increase in January new car registrations provides a better than expected start to 2010 for the UK motor industry,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive.
“Scrappage continues to lift demand successfully and today’s announcement of a continuation of the scheme to the end of March will allow the maximum number of people to benefit from the budget that’s still available.”
He added: “Industry expects another difficult year with the availability of finance, consumer confidence and sustaining demand post-scrappage, key to performance in the second half of the year, but signs of recovery in the fleet and business sectors are encouraging.”