New car sales in Britain jumped 57.6% in November compared to the same month last year, the biggest rise this year, as buyers continued to take advantage of a government incentive scheme and a temporary 2.5% cut in sales tax.

The rise also was boosted by comparison with a particularly weak period last year. However, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said the scrappage scheme accounted for more than a fifth of last month's 158,082 sales.

Chief executive Paul Everitt said: "The increase in new car registrations in November reflects the positive impact of the scrappage incentive scheme, customers avoiding the VAT increase in January and the very difficult conditions we experienced a year ago."

The SMMT reported that demand was driven by private buyers, with registrations of small cars continuing the outperform the market. The B-segment Ford Fiesta was the best seller in November ahead of the company's C-segment Focus model.

The scrappage scheme was launched by the British government earlier this year and offers buyers GBP2,000 (USD3,000) to trade in cars more than 10 years old for a more fuel-efficient newer model. Last October, it extended the scheme to include an additional 100,000 vehicles.

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