The Ford Fiesta strengthened its position as the UK's most popular car in August.

According to figures published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the Blue Oval shifted nearly 3,000 units of the much-loved hatchback. Year-to-date figures for the Fiesta stand at just over 70,000 cars.

Hot on its heels was its fiercest rival the Vauxhall Corsa which found 2,430 homes. The Ford Focus came home in third with 2,089 units.

Moving down the top ten list, the Volkswagen Golf was in fourth with 1,933 models sold; fifth was the Vauxhall Astra (1,567); sixth the VW Polo (1,484); followed by the Audi A3 with 1,243; the Nissan Qashqai in eighth (1,238); Vauxhall's Zafira finished ninth (1,1614) and the BMW 1 Series (1,136) in 10th.

The SMMT declared the new car market in August to be 'stable'.

August represents around three per cent of the market and is a small volume month ahead of September. This month around 330,000 new cars are expected to be registered – this represents an outlay of almost £5bn by UK car buyers, as Autoblog reported earlier this week.

Overall, new car registrations grew by one per cent to 59,433 units in August, and SMMT figures showed the market jumped 3.3 per cent to 1,260,997 units from January to August – that's a rise of more than 40,000 units on 2011.

SMMT chief executive, Paul Everitt, said: "The economic outlook remains challenging, but vehicle manufacturers and dealers are working hard to sustain demand and deliver great-value products and services to customers."

"After months of steadily rising figures, it was only a matter of time before consumer appetite for new cars eased," said Richard Lowe, head of retail and wholesale at Barclays. "This brings to an end a positive summer of sales, despite the odds."

Sue Robinson, director of the RMI National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), added: "August is traditionally a small market as buyers wait for the plate change on September 1, before purchasing a new vehicle.

"We anticipate consumers returning to the showrooms in the Autumn with consumers showing interest in value for money, easy to maintain and fuel efficient vehicles."