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.
“Sustaining the progress made in the latter part of 2009 will require stronger demand from fleet and business buyers, alongside the greater availability and affordability of credit and finance."
The SMMT added that CO2 emissions from new cars had fallen by 5.4 per cent on 2008 levels, to 149.5g/km.
Best sellers in 2009:1 Ford Fiesta 117,2962 Ford Focus 93,5173 Vauxhall Corsa 84,4784 Vauxhall Astra 67,7295 VW Golf 57,1876 Peugeot 207 48,0377 Mini 39,8668 BMW 3-series 39,0299 Vauxhall Insignia 36,04010 Ford Mondeo 34,418