New vehicle sales in San Diego County rose 20 percent in the first half of 2012 over the same period of 2011, according to a quarterly report by the trade group New Car Dealers Association San Diego County.

The increase was more than double the national rate of 9.9 percent. San Diego County saw 60,139 new vehicle registrations in the first six months of 2012, compared with 50,031 in the first half of 2011.

Passenger cars have seen a 22.1 percent sales increase this year, and light-truck sales are up 17.4 percent. Hybrid and electric vehicles continued an upward sales trend and now have an 8 percent local market share, the highest in three years.

Association researchers said this year’s sales are being boosted by consumers’ ability to finance purchases, reduction in consumer debt, and accumulated demand from the past three years.

The dealers group is projecting that the region will finish 2012 with new-vehicle sales up 17.1 percent over 2011.