The new car market has achieved the longest sustained period of growth on record, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

A 7.7% increase in car registrations in May marked 27 consecutive months of growth, breaking a record set in the late 1980s. New car registrations rose to 194,032 units – the most in May since 2004. Registrations for 2014-to-date passed the one million mark, rising 11.6% to 1,058,974 units.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “The new car market has grown in every month since March 2012 – the longest period of growth on record and a reflection of the UK’s ever-improving economic conditions.

“Over the past 27 months, increasingly confident consumers have been drawn to some fantastic new products, attracted by innovative technologies, improved fuel economy and competitive deals helping make a new car more affordable. With SMMT forecasting an overall rise of around 6% over the year, the coming months should see some levelling off in growth rates as underlying demand stabilises.”