New car sales hit 10-year high
New car sales in 2014 reached more than 2.47 million - the highest annual figure since 2004 and the fourth-highest ever.
Last year's total new registrations, at 2,476,435, were 9.3% up on the 2013 figure, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.
The 2014 total takes sales back to their pre-recession levels, with only the years 2002, 2003 and 2004 seeing more registrations than last year.
Sales have now risen for a record 34 consecutive months.
The SMMT reported that last year had seen a surge in demand for ultra-low emission vehicles, with registrations of plug-in cars increasing from 3,586 in 2013 to 14,498 in 2014.
The SMMT added that the UK remained the second largest new-car market in the EU - behind Germany and ahead of France, Italy and Spain.
In the final month of 2014 UK sales reached 166,198 - an 8.7% rise on the December 2013 total.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "UK new car registrations returned to pre-recession levels in 2014 as pent-up demand from the recession years combined with confidence in the economy saw consumer demand for the latest models grow consistently and strongly.
"The year was particularly strong for alternatively-fuelled vehicles as increased choice, coupled with a growing desire for reduced costs and greater efficiency, resulted in a quadrupling of plug-in car registrations over 2013."
He went on: " With a variety of new plug-in models expected in 2015, this area of the market will continue to grow significantly. For the market as a whole, we expect a more stable 2015 as demand levels off."
These are the annual new car registration figures for recent years:
These were the best-selling models in the UK in 2014:
1. Ford Fiesta
2. Ford Focus
3. Vauxhall Corsa
4. Volkswagen Golf
5. Vauxhall Astra
6. Nissan Qashqai
7. Volkswagen Polo
8. Audi A3
9. Fiat 500
10. Nissan Juke