British car dealers sold only 200 more cars in January this year than a year ago, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said in a statement on Monday.
That took new-car registrations to 128,853 units, in what the SMMT said was a sign of stability in the current economic uncertainty.
"The January new-car market held firm with 128,853 registrations, marginally up on January 2011, a welcome sign of stability in uncertain economic times," SMMT CEO Paul Everitt said in the statement.
The figures underline consumers' continued reluctance to spend on major purchases amid fears the economy could dip back into recession.
The SMMT said that January is traditionally a quiet period for car sales in the UK, ahead of the key month of March, which typically represents 18 percent of the annual market and approximately 65 percent of volumes sold in the first quarter.
In the statement, the SMMT revised downward its full-year forecast of new-car sales in 2012 to 1.92 million units, a 1.1 percent drop from 2011 figures.
The SMMT said the economic outlook remained weak and continued to present challenges to the car market, but remained confident that more efficient products would boost volumes during 2012 and added that it expected the market to grow to 1.98 million units in 2013.
Reuters contributed to this report