The Volkswagen Golf was the second best-selling car in May

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has revealed that new car registrations were up 2.5% last month – with the Volkswagen Golf beating the Vauxhall Corsa and Ford Focus to second place.

Naturally, the Ford Fiesta clings onto number one spot, with 8,236 registered last month – out of a total of 203,585 vehicles registered in May.

Despite the ongoing ‘Dieselgate’ emissions scandal, joining the surprise boom of Volkswagen Golf popularity is the increased demand for diesel cars – which rose by 5.0%.

The Volkswagen Golf was the second best-selling car in May

Petrol models saw a marginal decline of 0.6%, while registrations of alternatively-fuelled vehicles increased by 12.1%.

SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes, said: “The new car market in May remained high with compelling offers available on the latest vehicles, but the low growth is further evidence of the market cooling in the face of concerns around economic and political stability.

“Whether this is the result of some buyers holding off until the current uncertainty is resolved or a sign of a more stable market for new cars remains to be seen.”

A substantial 1,164,870 cars have now been registered in 2016 – 4.1% ahead of the same period last year.

Growth is slowing down, though, says the SMMT – with May being the second consecutive month of sub-3% growth in registrations, hinting an increased market stability.