New car registrations continued their record-breaking run of increases, with their 41st consecutive month of growth in July.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reports that 178,420 cars were registered in July – an uplift of 3.2% on the same month last year – while registrations in 2015 so far have risen 6.5% to surpass 1.5 million.

The UK new car market has seen consistent, strong growth since early 2012, with the first six months of 2015 representing an all-time record high for registrations.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “While more moderate than in recent months, July’s rise in new car registrations is good news, and indicative of what we expect for the remainder of 2015. With demand having reached a record high in the first half of the year, we anticipate more stable growth in the coming months.”

Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers across the UK, added: “It is encouraging to see that vehicles are still being sold and consumers are taking advantage of strong finance deals and competitive offers.

“The market is appearing to be levelling off as the cycle now matures, however, there continues to be speculation that registration figures may not reflect the real number of cars actually being sold.”