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The new car market has now grown in every month since March 2012. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA
Britain's car industry smashed records going back to 1959 in May after another increase in sales marked the longest ever period of growth for the new car market.
The number of new cars registered in the UK rose 7.7% to 194,032 last month, which was the strongest May in a decade.
A combination of growing consumer confidence amid economic recovery, cheap finance deals, and payouts over PPI mis-selling have driven the new car market to 27 consecutive months of growth, breaking a previous record set in the late 1980s.
"The new car market has now grown in every month since March 2012 â" the longest period of growth on record and a reflection of the UK's ever-improving economic conditions," said Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which published the figures.
UK registrations have already passed the 1m mark in 2014, rising 11.6% to 1.059m compared with the same period last year.
The bestseller in May was the Ford Fiesta, followed by the Volkswagen Golf and Vauxhall Corsa.
Hawes said new technologies and improved fuel economy, as well as competitive finance deals, were making a new car more affordable for many. However, he warned the rate of growth was likely to slow in the coming months as demand stabilises. The SMMT is forecasting a 6% rise in new car registrations in 2014 overall.