By Daniel Hunter

New car sales in the UK reached a 10-year high for the month of September, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The SMMT said 425,861 new cars were sold in September, 5.6% more than in September 2013. It is the 31st consecutive month in which new car sales have grown.

September is a traditionally strong month for car sales, on the back of the new registration plate which is released towards the end of August. But the figures still show clearly strong growth in the year.

Nearly two millions new cars have been sold this year; that's 9.1% more than at the same point last year.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "September's strong performance underlined the continuing robustness of the UK new car market, particularly in the context of last September's bumper volumes.

"Demand for the new 64-plate has been boosted by intensifying confidence in the UK economy, with consumers attracted by a wide range of exciting, increasingly fuel-efficient, new cars."

Mr Hawes did admit that the market is showing signs of cooling down after such an extended period of growth.

He said: "In the months since March - which saw an 18% jump in registrations - the growth has shown signs of levelling off as the market starts to find its natural running rate."

The SMMT's figure underline the overall business confidence, according to David Raistrick, UK automotive expert at Deloitte. He said: "If the new car sales are representative of the performance of the UK economy, there are further signs that confidence within the business sector is improving. Fleet and business car sales are now seeing the sort of growth that has been provided by private sales over the past two and half years.

"The UK market has consolidated its position as the second largest market for new cars after Germany and is almost a third larger than France in third place."

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