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UK car sales better than expected in key month of Sept

LONDON, Oct 4 (Reuters) - British car sales rose by a stronger-than-expected 8.2 percent on the year in September, a key month for the auto industry as it marks a twice-yearly change in vehicle registration plates.

Car registrations in September rose to 359,612 from 332,476 a year earlier - exceeding expectations by more than 26,000 cars - the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders industry association said on Thursday.

"Although the economic outlook remains challenging, we are starting to see a tentative return of consumer confidence as motorists explore new products and the latest fuel-efficient technologies," said SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt.

(Reporting by David Milliken)

((david.milliken@reuters.com)(+44 20 7542 5109)(Reuters Messaging: david.milliken.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: BRITAIN AUTOS/