UK new car registrations rose 11.3% to 149,191 units in November on the back on increased private demand.
Fleet and business registrations rose by more than 5%, up by 3,918 units to 83,864, compared to 79,766 in November 2011.
In terms of market share, fleet and business registrations equated to 56% of the overall market, down 4% on last year’s figures.
From year-to-date, fleet and business registrations now account for 54% of the market at 1,042,592 units compared to 57% in 2011 with 1,044,271 registrations.
"New car registrations rose 11.3% in November, positioning the UK new car market as the second largest in Europe," said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive.
"The upward trend has been driven by private retail customers. The outlook for 2013 remains challenging, but vehicle manufacturers and their dealers will continue to work hard to attract motorists to their showrooms and deliver outstanding value."
The UK is now the second largest new car market in Europe, following growth in the UK over the last 10 months and a drop in demand in the other big markets.
Sue Robinson, director of the RMI National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers across the UK, said: “There have been some excellent ‘value for money’ offers for consumers by manufacturers keen to sell vehicles here in the UK. This has helped bolster car sales figures in the UK market when others are suffering.
“Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) sales have fallen by 10.2% this month indicating that retail customers are still not convinced of the benefits of buying an AFV due to the concern over the ability to run them as well as the range available.”
Richard Lowe, head of retail and wholesale at Barclays, welcomed the increase, but urged caution on how the market may perform in 2013.
He said: “It is clear that a number of challenges remain, and the sector will do well to maintain the performance levels seen during 2012. That said this is a resilient and dynamic sector which has proved its ability to cope with changing demands.”