New car sales increased by 2.6% in October, but overall registrations for 2011 are 4.5% down on the same period in 2010.
The rise is the second increase in three months, prompting hopes that the car sales market has stabilised after 12 months of consecutive falls.
However, austerity measures and fuel prices seem to be driving the market, with a 17% increase in sales of small cars recorded.
Despite the increase in sales, Paul Everitt, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said that end-of-year sales are expected be down on 2010's figures. Year-to-date figures are currently 4.5% down on the same period last year.
Mr Everitt said: 'Vehicle manufacturers are working hard to offer value for money through improved fuel efficiency, low running costs and innovative finance.
'We expect market conditions to remain challenging and hope the Chancellors autumn statement later this month will help to boost economic growth and consumer confidence.'
Best-selling cars October, 2011
1 Ford Fiesta7308
2 Vauxhall Corsa6300
3 Ford Focus5203
4 VW Golf4400
5 Vauxhall Astra4159
6 BMW 3 Series3664
7 VW Polo3289
8 Vauxhall Insignia2923
9 Nissan Qashqai2789
10 Honda Jazz2472