MORE than 170,000 new cars were registered last month, with buyers tempted by generous finance deals and the cost advantages of running a more fuel-efficient car.
The market is up by 10 per cent so far this year against the same period in 2013, with 1.46 million registrations and faster than expected growth since January.
This is now forecast to supercharge the full year market total to 2.45 million registrations, up eight per cent on 2013.
Ford retained the stranglehold it has held on the market for almost 40 years with the best selling vehicles in both the car and commercial vehicle sectors, and its Fiesta and Focus being the top two sellers overall.
Mark Ovenden, Ford of Britain chairman and managing director, said: "Ford is in its 38th consecutive year of car sales leadership and its 49th consecutive year for commercial vehicles.
"Ford Fiesta and Focus and Ford Transit and Transit Custom are at the core of this achievement, but our extended Ford CV family and the introduction of new car models provide a basis for attracting many new customers and building on our leadership position."
There were some stand out performances among manufacturers.
For example, Renault's impressive product-led revival continues in top gear and it has now seen 15 months of consecutive growth.
Sales of more than 4,000 cars in July brings the total for 2014 so far to 36,152, an increase of 62 per cent over the same period last year, and nearly one in every 40 new cars sold is now a Renault.
The New Clio hatchback and Captur B-segment crossover were the two best-selling Renault models, accounting for 15,739 and 11,199 sales year-to-date respectively.
Its budget brand, Dacia, saw the largest market share growth within the group, up 73 per cent year-to-date.
Ken Ramirez, managing director of Renault UK Ltd, said: "The outstanding growth results, fuelled by the success of the new Clio and Captur crossover for Renault and the clear value of the Dacia line-up, definitively signal the confidence in the franchise's sustainable growth plan."
With an all-new Trafic van and all-new Twingo planned to arrive before the end of the year will mean that Renault has launched nine new models in 20 months.
Mitsubishi's extraordinary Outlander PHEV plug-in hybrid SUV dominated its market sector, and last month it outsold all other ultra low emission vehicles qualifying for the £5,000 Government grant aimed at encouraging the use of such cars, taking 43 per cent of all successful applications.
Toby Marshall, director of sales and marketing for Mitsubishi Motors in the UK, said: "Now that the sales figures are in for July, it is clear to see we have made significant progress so far this year.
"The addition of the game-changing Outlander PHEV to our vehicle line-up has helped boost Mitsubishi brand awareness, increasing sales of all models in our range."
Crewe luxury car maker, Bentley, also saw good growth, with UK registrations up 28 per cent at 930 cars.
The arrival of Mg's acclaimed MG3 hatchback helped boost its registrations by around 800 per cent.
Mike Hawes, chief executive of The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: "July saw the new car market extend its record period of growth to a 29th month, as confident consumers took advantage of an array of new products and attractive finance deals on the latest fuel-efficient cars."