The UK new car market grew by a steady 3.2% in the first six months of the year, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

It achieved the highest half-year sales recorded with 1,420,636 new cars registered so far in 2016.

Growth was reported across all fuel types, with diesel and petrol registrations growing 2.3% and 3.0% respectively in the year-to-date. Alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) continued the significant gains seen over previous months, up 21.3% compared with the first six months of 2015. AFVs now account for 3.2% of the overall new car market.

Demand in June eased slightly, with a 0.8% fall in registrations, meeting expectations that market growth would stabilise following a record 2015. Fleet registrations continued the trend of recent months, driving the market with a 4.5% rise and compensating for a 4.5% drop in private registrations.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “It is far too soon to determine whether the referendum result has had an impact on the new car market. The first six months saw strong demand at record levels but the market undoubtedly cooled over the second quarter. It’s important government takes every measure to restore business and economic confidence to avoid the market contracting in the coming months.”

Sue Robinson, director of National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers across the UK, said: “June’s car market results are in line with the majority of analysts’ forecasts, which have been revised following the referendum result.

“Over the past few weeks, the NFDA has seen mixed messages coming from dealers and while physical footfall increased in June compared to June 2015, online activity seems to have declined. With consumer confidence falling post Brexit, we call on the Treasury and the Bank of England to do all they can to stimulate consumer demand.

“We currently import over a million cars a year and associated parts from the EU. We urge our politicians to swiftly negotiate a trade deal with the Union in order to safeguard a prosperous future for the motor retail industry.”