- Diesel cars took a record 50.8% market share, with sales of just over a million compared with 978,000 petrol vehicles.
- Sales of alternative fuel vehicles, such as electric, increased by 9.4% to almost 28,000, a market share of 1.4%, a new high.
Private sales of new cars increased from 823,000 to 929,000, fleet sales increased by 0.6% to just over a million, while business sales fell by 9.5% to just under 90,000.The SMMT said 2013 would be "challenging", but it expects performance to be on a par with 2012.
More top news
The Conservative and Labour leaders are expected to use PMQs on Wednesday to push their main campaign messages.
Surrey Police has been criticised for handing back John Lowe his shotguns months before he went on to shoot his partner and her daughter.
Figures suggest that more than 11 million homes, or 42%, are in credit to their energy company.