car saleNew car sales accelerated ahead last month, official figures showed.

There were a total of 143,643 new registrations in January 2013 - an 11.5% rise on the January 2012 figure, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.

The good start to the year was mainly a result of a near-16% increase in private sales, while there was a rise of nearly 8% in alternatively-fuelled car sales.

SMMT interim chief executive Mike Baunton said: "The new car market has started the year confidently.

"Lifted by a solid rise in private demand, the market posted its 11th successive month of growth with motorists attracted to forecourts by the latest models and competitive deals on offer."

He went on: "Building on a strong performance in 2012, SMMT has increased its market forecast. We anticipate a modest rise (of 0.6%) over the year, followed by further growth (of 2.6%) in 2014."