As the SMMT has pointed out, August is traditionally a quiet time on the new car market, as drivers wait for the plate change in September before investing in a new vehicle.
But the figures for last month show that around 81,640 cars were registered in the UK, with growth driven by a 7.7% rise in the fleet sector.
And though private registrations dropped by 0.2%, the total number of cars registered so far in 2016 has risen by 2.8% on the same time last year to hit 1.68 million.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said it would now be up to government to ensure that the conditions were put in place for future growth.
“August is traditionally one of the quietest months as consumers look ahead to the September plate change, so growth, albeit small, is good news,” he said.
“With showrooms full of exciting models featuring the very latest technology and a raft of affordable finance options, it still makes economic sense to consider buying a new car.
“The key to maintaining this strong market is consumer confidence for which we look to government to deliver the conditions for economic growth.”
The figures also show the breakdown between the different types of vehicle that were bought in August.
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They indicate that demand for diesel fell by 0.2%, while petrol registrations rose by 5.3%.
Alternatively fuelled vehicles put in a strong performance, with sales growing by 30.8%.
According to MPs on the panel, the Government has not provided enough infrastructure or incentives to boost take-up of ultra-low emissions vehicles.
According to the SMMT data, the Ford Fiesta topped the new car sales chart for August, seeing 4,547 registrations.
The Ford Focus took second spot with 2,519 sold, followed by Vauxhall's Corsa with 2,393 shifted. Some 76,370 Fiestas have been sold in the year to date, trailed by the Corsa's 50,355 units.