Northern Ireland's top 10 selling cars - 8% growth in sales makes region's activity most buoyant in UK
Growth of 8% in new car sales for Northern Ireland last month is "much-needed good news" for the local motoring sector.
Richard Ramsey, chief economist for Ulster Bank, said the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) statistics are a "welcome improvement".
They showed there were 3,810 new car registrations last month, up 8.35% on October 2017.
The figures for sales over the year so far showed a decrease of 3.72% - the lowest slump of all UK regions.
The top five best-selling new cars were the Volkswagen Tiguan, Vauxhall Corsa, Ford Kuga, Volkswagen Golf and the Hyundai Tucson.
Over the year, the top five best-sellers were Ford Fiesta, Ford Kuga, Volkswagen Golf, Hyundai Tucson and Nissan Qashqai.
Mr Ramsey said: "Northern Ireland dealers reported sales of 3,810 new cars in October.
"That's up over 8% (+294 cars) on the same period in 2017 and marked the best October in four years for sales.
"Some of this recent improvement is likely to be a carry-over from sluggish sales in previous months.
"Indeed, the latest figures follow the quietest September in seven years."
He said car sales for the first ten months of last year were down almost 4%, representing the weakest sales volumes for January-October in five years. He attributed the slowdown to the relatively slow production of cars that meet new EU emissions standards, as well as Brexit uncertainty.
Across the whole of the UK, Northern Ireland's new car sale activity was the most buoyant in the recent survey - leading the way for both the month and the year to date.
The increase of 8% is almost 11% higher than new car registrations in Scotland, which were down by 9.67%.
Looking ahead to the future of new car sales figures, Mr Ramsey said: "A 'no-deal' Brexit could significantly disrupt the supply chains of Europe's auto industry.
"This would affect the supply of new cars in 2019 irrespective of what demand is there."
He added: "Consumers' disposable incomes have been squeezed by inflation.
"Rising food, motor fuel and utility bills are set to see this trend continue into 2019.
"Talk of 'an end to austerity' - as indicated in last week's Budget - is premature.
"With the freeze in most working-age welfare benefits continuing and some welfare benefit cuts still to take effect, the average consumer isn't expected to see a notable improvement in their personal finances in the year ahead.
"Consumer confidence is expected to remain subdued. particularly for large discretionary purchases such as a new car."
The car sales sector in the UK is worth £82bn.