It was the fifth year of growth for the United Kingdom auto market, although it is widely expected that from this high point the market will be flat or go into decline during 2017.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), who are expected to publish full data later today, predict registrations to fall by five percent in 2017 due to the fall in the pound and difficulty to continue beating record sales.
"The new vehicle market has been remarkably buoyant over the past five years and demand will remain extremely strong", said Tamzen Isacsson, director of communications, of the SMMT.
The SMMT said new auto sales in the United Kingdom fell by 1.4 per cent in December to 177,000.
Economic uncertainty caused by the Brexit negotiations, changing exchange rates and the new VED tax rules would remove some of the incentives to go out and buy a new vehicle, he said. "However, even after you take this into account, auto sales will remain strong and should easily exceed 2.4 million units in 2017".
However, Mr Hawes said the fall in the value of the pound resulting from the Brexit vote was beginning to push up prices, which had risen by 2-3%.
It adds to a rosy picture for the UK's automotive industry, with annual registrations on all types of cars climbing for the fifth year in a row to nearly 2.7 million.
Annual UK new car registrations since 2000. Graphic Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders
There is a benefit because 80% of cars produced in the United Kingdom are exported and the fall in sterling makes them cheaper for overseas buyers.
As for the traditional battle between diesel and petrol, the latter made up the largest number of registrations, making up 49% of the market overall.
SMMT's chief executive Mike Hawes attributes this to the popularity of new technologies and a latent demand for new cars built up during the recession.
The top selling vehicle remains the Ford Fiesta followed by the Vauxhall Corsa with the Ford Focus in third spot.
That is in addition to an earlier warning that motorists face paying £1,500 more for imported cars when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union if the divorce deal results in new tariffs.
The SMMT has previously warned that the loss of access to the free market in Europe as a result of Brexit could add around £1500 to the price of the average vehicle.