Cap is predicting new car sales are likely to exceed 2.6m in 2015, making it the biggest year on record, while next year could be even higher.
So far this year, 2,453,426 cars have been registered – an increase of 2% over the same period last year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The growth in new car registrations to fleet and business users is even higher, with the latest figures showing they are more than 10% up on where they were this time last year.
A recent study of UK dealers by Cap suggested the majority, 46.3%, believe that 2016 will beat 2015 for new car registrations, while only 29% thought new car sales wouldn’t exceed this year.
Philip Nothard, Cap consumer and retail editor, says: “We are predicting sales will exceed 2.6m vehicles, and while pre-registration has played a part in hitting this number, we are seeing a shift in the way we purchase a vehicle.
“The rise in PCP and a wide variety of leasing products, means manufacturers are able to offer some eye-catching deals.
“The UK car industry is coming to the end of one of its biggest years for a decade, exceeding pre-recession sales in 2008 and post-recession sales in 2014.
“Used vehicle sales are set to hit 7.5m, as strong demand continues to drive the market.
“As confidence extends into next year, it will be important to manage the used vehicle supply chain to protect residual values. Manufacturers are acutely aware that the ability to offer a good deal on the front end relies on maintaining residual values.
“There’s a lot to be excited about, as we head towards four years of non-stop growth in UK car sales in 2016 – something for dealers to celebrate.”
While Cap has reported a slide in used values over the last three months, it suggested prices are likely to stabilize in January as demand increases.