New car sales registered a yearly spike last month on the back of the number plate change, new figures have revealed.
The number of new cars hitting UK roads in September was up 8.2% on the same month last year, with 359,612 vehicles signing up for the new '62' plates, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The top-selling model in September was the Ford Fiesta, followed by the Vauxhall Corsa, with the Ford Focus finishing in third place.
Over 1.62m new cars have been sold so far this year, a 4.3% rise on the January-September total last year and analysts say the industry has reason for cautious optimism, having seen the number of new registrations grow in all but one month of 2012.
A rise in the availability of car credit enabled consumers to make new purchases, although sales remain firmly below the levels regularly witnessed before the financial crisis.
SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said: "The important September plate change market outperformed expectations.
"Although the economic outlook remains challenging, we are starting to see a tentative return of consumer confidence as motorists explore new products and the latest fuel-efficient technologies."
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