New-car registrations in the UK increased by 5.3 per cent in 2012 to 2,044,609 units, boosted by strong consumer demand.
Annual volume was at its highest since 2008 and the largest recorded percentage increase since 2001.
Growth in 2012 followed a 12.9 per cent rise in private demand.
The new-car market was still 14.9 per cent below the 2007 pre-recession level of 2.4 million units.
Average new-car CO2 emissions fell to new low of 133.1g/km — 22.7 per cent down on a decade ago.
The market ended 2012 with a 3.7 per cent rise in December to 123,557 units.