New car sales in Northern Ireland surged by 17% in July, industry data suggests.
July was the first full month of post-lockdown trading for car showrooms.
Just under 4,400 new vehicles were registered in July compared to 3,800 in the same month last year, however, on a year-to-date basis sales are still down by more than 40% compared to last year.
In the UK as a whole sales were up by 11% in July.
Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said the rise was “a reprieve for the sector”, but the market remained fragile and could suffer from any future coronavirus lockdowns.
“We must be cautious… there is still much uncertainty about the future.
“The next few weeks will be crucial in showing whether or not we are on the road to recovery,” he added.
Ulster Bank economist Richard Ramsey said it had been the best July for car sales in Northern Ireland for more than 10 years.
“This is the first month that there have been signs of some pent-up demand for new cars,” he added.