New car registrations were up 8.4 per cent on the same month in 2015, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reported. 83,395 vehicles were registered - the most in the month of February since 2004.
While diesel and petrol numbers enjoyed growth - 5.6 per cent and 10.7 per cent respectively - it was alternatively-fuelled vehicles which showed the greatest comparative increase, up by a fifth.
The most popular model in February was the Ford Fiesta, with 4,507 - almost 2,000 ahead of closest rival the Volkswagen Golf. The Nissan Qashqai, Vauxhall Corsa and Ford Focus made up the top five.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “February is typically one of the quietest months of the year ahead of March’s plate change, but this positive performance is encouraging and puts the sector in a good position for the coming 12 months.”
Richard Jones, of motor finance providers Black Horse, said: “These are encouraging figures for the UK automotive industry, continuing a strong start to the year. The increase can be attributed to a combination of further growth in PCP (Personal Contract Purchase) financing, ongoing low interest rates for consumers, and continued high levels of manufacturer subsidisation, driving up the volume of affordable new cars coming into the UK market.”