UK car sales rise to 4-year high in 2012
British new-car registrations rose 5.3 percent to 2.04 million cars in 2012, the highest level since 2008, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said on Monday.
In December, deliveries rose 3.7 percent to 123,557, the trade group added.
"Looking ahead to 2013, we anticipate the market will hold firm," said SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt in a statement.
The December rise in Europe's No. 2 market follows an 11.3 percent increase in November.
The UK's jump in sales contrasts strongly with other major European car markets, which are struggling as austerity-hit consumers stay out of showrooms.
Data published last week shows that German deliveries dropped 2.9 percent to 3.08 million in 2012, while Italy's car sales slumped 19.9 percent for the full year to 1.4 million units, their lowest levels since 1979. In France, registrations fell 14 percent to 1.9 million vehicles -- the lowest since 1997, according to the industry group CCFA.
In Spain, deliveries dropped 13 percent to 699,589, the worst result since industry association Anfac began keeping records in 1989.
Reuters contributed to this report