SMMT figures reveal that the 2010 market rose by 1.8 per cent compared to 2009’s figures.
2,030,846 units were registered – 35,847 up on 2009’s market – but sales in 2010 were still the second lowest in a decade.
The fleet market also rose by more than 10 per cent, but due to the ending of scrappage scheme, private volumes slipped back.
However, December saw registrations fall by 18 per cent – the sixth successive month to see registrations down. But December’s figures were up 4.6 per cent if cars sold as a result of the scrappage scheme are not included.
Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive, said: ‘2010 was a year of recovery for the motor industry with new car registrations up 1.8 per cent on 2009. Economic conditions remain extremely challenging, but industry expects demand to strengthen in the second half of the year.
‘Competition in the retail sector will intensify as the industry seeks to re-balance demand across its new and used car and service and repair business. UK motor manufacturing recovered particularly well in 2010 and the outlook is for further steady growth this year.’
The SMMT predict the market to decline by 5 per cent in 2011 to 1.93 million units quoting ‘difficult market conditions’.