Used passenger vehicles in December up 34pc on 2012
Last year's "exceptional" motor vehicle industry has been backed up by the highest number of used import sales since 2007, though this year is unlikely to match a vintage 2013.
Motor Trade Association figures showed 9534 used import passenger vehicles were sold in December last year, up 34 per cent on the same month in 2012. The December sales accelerated the total for the year to 98,971, the highest since 2007 and up 26 per cent on the previous year.
MTA spokesperson Ian Stronach said the market had been improving in recent years but 2013 "proved to be exceptional" in all areas.
"The performance of the industry set the pace for overall economic recovery, and this seems to be a pattern being repeated in overseas economies; vehicle sales have picked up ahead of improvements in other areas."
Toyota was the most popular used car brand, trailed by Nissan and Mazda, though the Mazda Demio was the most popular model of car.
The figures showed used import passenger cars outsold new vehicles by more than 16,500.
But the 82,433 new passenger cars sold were the highest since 1984, and up 7 per cent on 2012.
Toyota was also the most popular brand of new car, leading Holden and Hyundai.
New commercial vehicle sales totalling 30,861 last year were the highest on record, for which the Toyota Hilux was the most popular model.
Used commercial imports lagged but at 6094 units was the highest since 2008.
Last year also clocked up the best year of on-road motorcycles since 2008, led by Suzuki, and a fifth stronger overall than in 2012.
But Stronach said it was hard to see the vehicle market sustain the same level of growth this year.
"However, with predictions of solid growth in the economy as a whole, there's nothing to suggest it won't still be a good year for the industry."