For the first time since September 2011, new car sales in Europe rose.
The number of registrations, the highest in 18-months, went up 1.8% compared to last year.
Strong demand in the UK and the early Easter break contributed to the positive figures, which were announced by industry association ACEA.
Sales in the UK were 15% higher and the best for the month of April on record. In the rest of Europe, however, it was the third lowest figure for April.
Mike Baunton, SMMT interim chief executive, said: “We are pleased to see a rise in European new car registrations in April after such a long period of depressed demand. It is only a small increase with year-to-date figures still lower than last year, but it is certainly very welcome as half of all UK vehicle exports go to the continent.
“Here in the UK, the picture has been positive for some time with confident consumers attracted to dealerships by new, innovative, fuel-efficient vehicles and affordable finance deals. The UK new car market has grown for 14 consecutive months and in April, registrations recorded their best performance since 2008.”