NEW-CAR sales have topped the 10,000 mark and are running around 30pc ahead of last year.
However, that does not mean there will be a 30pc increase overall this year, but it is a promising start.
About 10,500 new cars have been registered, many of them pre-ordered from late last year.
SIMI chief Alan Nolan said it was an encouraging start. He said the scrappage scheme had helped to bolster confidence.
However, it is early days and there are potential potholes along the way.
These include the impact of reduced wage packets being hit this month by swingeing Budget cuts.
And then there is the imponderable impact of a general election on people's buying intentions.
This year's figures, so far, are a bit misleading in that the beginning of January 2010 was virtually frozen out by the ferocious weather and sales and deliveries were well off the pace.
Latest registrations from Motorcheck.ie showed the figure up to close of business on Monday was 10,543.
By their reckoning, that is a 33pc increase on the corresponding period for last year.
The next few weeks will tell a lot as one of the most cut-throat and competitive markets unfolds. And the advice to buyers in that climate is, as ever, shop around and compare prices and spec levels.