New car sales dipped last month compared with the scrappage-boosted figure in September 2009, it was announced today.
A total of 335,246 new vehicles were registered in September 2010 - an 8.9% fall on the total for the same month last year, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.
The 2010 year-end new car sale total is now expected to reach two million - slightly up on 2009.
The September 2009 total was influenced by the Government's car scrappage scheme which was introduced in May last year and which ran until the early part of 2010.
The SMMT said that, with the effects of scrappage excluded, the September 2010 total was was 16.3% ahead of September 2009 and on a par with September 2008.
SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt added: "Despite an 8.9% fall in September registrations, demand for new cars has stabilised and will end 2010 slightly up on last year.
"It is important that, alongside the Government's austerity measures, the comprehensive spending review signals a strong growth agenda to boost consumer and business confidence."
So far this year, the new car market has totalled 1,635,659 - a 7.8% rise on the January-September 2009 figure.
But with the scrappage scheme at an end, sales have fallen 11.0% in the last three months compared with the same period last year.
Last month, when the new "60" registration plates were introduced, was 1% better than the SMMT had predicted earlier but was still the second-worst September since the twice-yearly (March and September) plate change was introduced in 1999.
SMMT said it remained cautious about the outlook for new car sales, adding that the VAT rise, due in January, "could modestly affect the timing of demand towards the end of the year".
Private sales, which were particularly boosted by the scrappage scheme, were down 19% last month compared with September 2009, but fleet sales rose 6.7%.
These were the best-selling models in September 2010:
1. Ford Fiesta
2. Vauxhall Corsa
3. Vauxhall Astra
4. Ford Focus
5. Vauxhall Insignia
6. Volkswagen Golf
8. Peugeot 207
9. Ford Mondeo
10. BMW 1 Series