SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said: "More than two million new cars were registered in the UK during 2012, up 5.3% on the previous 12 months and the best result since recession struck in 2008.
"Boosted by strong consumer demand, the market grew at its fastest rate for 11 years with innovative, fuel-efficient cars keeping buyers in showrooms.
"Looking ahead to 2013, we anticipate the market will hold firm, with manufacturers and dealers working hard to deliver quality and value to motorists."
More top news
The debate during eight weeks of campaigning has been divisive and the result should be known on Saturday.
The latest twist in US-North Korea relations features prominently on the front pages.
Greg Abbott said he wanted to find “swift and meaningful” ways to stop future shootings.