Ford FiestaThe key registration plate change month of September saw 425,861 new cars registered – a rise of 5.6% which made it the biggest since September 2004.

However, the SMMT warned that growing demand is starting to tail off and that the next few months are likely to see more moderate increases in new car registrations.

September’s registrations – which, along with the March plate change month account for a third of the year’s registrations – takes to year-to-date total up to 1,958,196 new cars. That’s up 9.1% on the same period last year.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “September’s strong performance underlined the continuing robustness of the UK new car market, particularly in the context of last September’s bumper volumes.

“Demand for the new 64-plate has been boosted by intensifying confidence in the UK economy, with consumers attracted by a wide range of exciting, increasingly fuel-efficient, new cars.”

Speaking of the slowdown in growth, he said: “In the months since March – which saw an 18% jump in registrations – the growth has shown signs of levelling off as the market starts to find its natural running rate.”

New cars officially greener than ever

The SMMT has also released average fuel economy data on September’s new car registrations. It shows the average car averaged a remarkable 59mpg and emitted just over 122g/km CO2.

The CO2 figure is well below the average of 130g/km car manufacturers are required to achieve across their ranges, and shows that Brits are choosing to replace older cars with more fuel efficient brand new ones in ever-greater numbers.

Indeed, this, for many, provides the justification to buy a new car, particularly with so much vehicle taxation now derived from CO2 emissions.

Ford Fiesta is Britain’s no.1 – again

As always, the Ford Fiesta was Britain’s best selling new car in September, a full 10,000 units clear of the next-best Ford Focus.

Indeed, if anything, the Fiesta’s leadership over all other cars is increasing – year to date, 106,930 Fiestas have been registered in the UK, with the second-placed Ford Focus well back on 67,015.

The Volkswagen Golf hit a new high by taking third place in the new car registrations chart, which will be a worry for Vauxhall: Britain’s number 2 car manufacturer could only place fourth with the ageing Corsa and seventh with the fast-fading Astra.

Top 10 best selling cars – September 2014

  1. Ford Fiesta
  2. Ford Focus
  3. Volkswagen Golf
  4. Vauxhall Corsa
  5. Volkswagen Polo
  6. Fiat 500
  7. Vauxhall Astra
  8. Audi A3
  9. Peugeot 208
  10. Nissan Qashqai