New car sales inched ahead last month, official figures show.
There were a total of 59,433 new registrations in August 2012 - a 0.1% increase on the August 2011 figure, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.
The total in August, a traditionally quiet month for sales ahead of the September number plate change, took the number of new cars bought in the year so far to 1,260,997 - a 3.3% rise on the January-August 2011 figure.
SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said: "New car registrations remained broadly stable in August - a month which traditionally represents a small share of the new car market as motorists anticipate the arrival of the new 62-plate in September.
"The economic outlook remains challenging, but vehicle manufacturers and dealers are working hard to sustain demand and deliver great value products and services to customers."
Although small, the August rise was the sixth monthly increase in a row.
The SMMT expects new registrations in September to reach 330,000, which would be in line with the September 2011 figure.