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UK car sales reach four-year high


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UK new car registrations rose 5.3% in 2012 to 2.04 million - the highest level since 2008, according to the SMMT car industry body.

Ford's Fiesta and Focus, and Vauxhall's Corsa and Astra were the four best-selling models.

The Volkswagen Golf came fifth, with the Nissan Qashqai in sixth place.

"Looking ahead to 2013, we anticipate the market will hold firm," said the chief executive of the SMMT, Paul Everitt.

Last year's growth rate was the fastest in 11 years, bolstered by a 12.9% rise in demand from private individuals, who bought 106,346 of the 2,044,609 units sold.

The overall rise in sales was the second annual increase since the start of the downturn in 2008, though the market remained 14.9% below its pre-recession peak in 2007, when 2.4 million cars were sold.

In December, 123,557 cars were registered, 3.7% more than in December 2011.

"Offers and incentives and some buyers shifting from buying used to new cars could have contributed to the upturn," the SMMT said in a statement.

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