New car sales are booming as private buyers shrug off the economic gloom to snap up cut-price deals.

There were 143,643 new registrations in January 2013 – an 11.5 per cent rise on January 2012, according to official figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

The good start to the year came mainly from a 15.9 per cent increase in private sales, with dealers claiming that customers who had put off buying a new car have been tempted back into showrooms by big discounts from manufacturers.

Booming: New car sales are increasing as private buyers shrug off the economic gloom to take up cut-price deals, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has said

Booming: New car sales are increasing as private buyers shrug off the economic gloom to take up cut-price deals, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has said

Popular: The Ford Fiesta was one of the best-selling models last month, when new car sales increased by 11.5 per cent compared to the previous year

Popular: The Ford Fiesta was one of the best-selling models last month, when new car sales increased by 11.5 per cent compared to the previous year

The best-selling models last month were the Ford Fiesta and Focus, and Vauxhall’s Astra and Corsa.

Mike Baunton, SMMT’s interim chief executive, 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 competitive deals on offer.

‘Although we don’t expect to see major growth during 2013, we do expect it to be stable.’

During the year there was also a rise of nearly 8 per cent on sales of hybrid and electric cars.

Sue Robinson, director of the RMI National Franchised Dealers Association which represents 3,000 car retailers across the UK, said: ‘The new car market continues to perform well despite wider economic uncertainty.

‘We also anticipate some pent up demand from consumers who have put off buying a new car due to economic conditions.’

Demand: The good start to the year came mainly from a 15.9 per cent increase in private sales, with Vauxhall Corsa's proving popular

Demand: The good start to the year came mainly from a 15.9 per cent increase in private sales, with Vauxhall Corsa's proving popular