December car sales rose by 38.9 per cent year on year, leaving 2009's UK car sales down 6.4 per cent compared to the previous 12 months.
The successful December sales figures were largely attributed to the scrappage scheme, with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reporting that 21 per cent of all sales were down to the £2000 trade-in scheme.
The fall to 1,994,999 car sales last year was a blow for the car industry, and the lowest number of sales since 2005. However, it was up on recent forecasts of 1.92 million car sales and significantly higher than SMMT forecasts earlier this year.
The £400 million scrappage scheme is due to end either next month or when funding runs out. The SMMT estimated that there was £95 million left in the scheme on 20 December.
Paul Everitt, chief executive of the SMMT, said: “Another tough year awaits the UK motor industry in 2010, with new car registrations expected to be below 2009 levels and only limited recovery in the van and heavy commercial vehicle markets.