The market for alternative fuel vehicles rose 9.4 per cent in 2012 in the UK, according to the latest data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT)-to achieve a 1.4 per cent share of the new car market.
The rise in alternatives came in a year which saw sales of all new cars in the UK rise to over 2 million, according to SMMT-its best result since the recession struck in 2008 and a 5.3 per cent increase on 2011's result.
Private buyers are largely credited with helping the market achieve its bumper result last year, with sales up 3.7 per cent in December alone.
On a quarterly basis, growth improved throughout the year with a 9.2 per cent rise in the final quarter.
Demand was strong for Mini (+54.2%), Supermini (+5.6%) and Dual Purpose (+21.1%) segment cars, helping the market achieve its record result.
While alternative fuel vehicles achieved a strong result, boosted by a broadening number of market offerings and the availability of grants worth up to ?5,000 for buyers of plug-in cars, diesel cars likewise benefitted from growing consumer interest in energy efficiency.
Diesel cars took a record 50.8 per cent market share, just up on 2011's 50.6 per cent.
As a result of manufacturer's efforts to cut emission and growing consumer demand for more efficient vehicles, average new car CO2 emissions fell to new low of 133.1g/km in 2012- down 22.7 per cent on a decade ago.
Commenting on 2012's market result, Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive said: "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."
The Ford Fiesta was the best selling model of 2012, retaining the position held since 2009.
The 2013 market is set to be challenging, but SMMT anticipates performance on-par with 2012.
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