Car sales were up 12.7 per cent to 162,228 units in July, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The SMMT has hiked it forecast for 2013 car registrations to 2.216m units, up 8.4 per cent from last year.
July's best sellers were the Ford Fiesta (9,089 units), the Ford Focus (7,229) and Vauxhall Astra (6,165).
Mike Baunton, SMMT interim chief executive:
Recently, we’ve seen a range of economic indicators point to improving conditions and our raised sales forecast emphasises how positively we view the rest of 2013.
Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist, IHS Global Insight:
It is evident that private new car sales are being helped by improving consumer confidence and elevated employment, and are being fuelled by attractive offers and packages, as well as by motorists’ desire to buy more fuel efficient cars at a time of relatively high petrol prices.
Car manufacturers will be pleased with the way sales have gone so far in the UK in 2013 (particularly when compared with the generally very poor sales across Europe) and they will be encouraged by the current improving UK economic environment and the strengthening in consumer and business confidence.