NEW car registrations for the six months to the end of June are up nearly 10 per cent on last year.

A total of 19,254 new cars were purchased by motorists in Scotland last month, bringing total sales for the first six months of 2014 to 114,353 - up 9.4 per cent on the same period in 2013.

This compares to a year-on-year increase for the UK as a whole of 10.6 percent, the best performance since 2005.

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For June sales alone, however, Scotland lagged further behind the UK with a year-on-year increase in new car sales of 1.34 per cent compared tp 6.2 per cent for the UK as a whole.

Douglas Robertson, chief executive of the Scottish Motor Trade Association, said: "We are pleased that once again our new car registration figures in June show a further increase. Perhaps not as large as we would have liked but we are happy that we are almost 10 per cent up in the first six months of the year.

"We anticipate more stabilisation in the remaining half of the year with a year-end figure of around 217,500.

"Sales have been driven by the private sector with almost 55 per cent of new registrations in the first six months of the year being to private buyers seeking, for the most part, more fuel efficient vehicles and we think this is a trend that will continue for the remainder of the year."

In the UK as a whole and in Scotland, the best-selling make and model of car in 2014 is the Ford Fiesta.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) also noted that consumer demand for energy efficiency has driven sales of alternatively-fuelled new cars up 51.3 per cent compared to the same six-month period last year.