Figures from the Scottish Motor Trade Association (SMTA) show the number of new registrations in Scotland rose by more than 24% to 12,036 in July this year, compared with just 9701 in July 2011.
In comparison, there was a rise in the UK as a whole of 9.31%, with 143,884 units registered.
Douglas Robertson, SMTA chief executive, said the rise in Scotland can be partly attributed to an increase in the popularity of more fuel-efficient vehicles.
He said: "We are very pleased at another improvement on last year's figures and delighted to see a continuation of the upward trend of the past few months.
"We are also a little surprised at the size of the increase.
"People for years have been used to getting 30 to 35 miles to the gallon from their cars if they're doing well.
"During the recession, there has been a bit of reluctance to buy a new car because of the outlay involved.
"Now we're seeing cars that can achieve 40, 50 to 55 miles to the gallon, people are doing their sums and thinking 'maybe we should consider a new car as it might well work out cheaper'.
"The cost of repairs is also almost non-existent in a lot of these new cars because of the warranties available."
Mr Robertson said increased availability of new cars has also contributed to the rise, along with an influx of vehicles that have been on back-order from the previous few months.
He said: "Availability can always distort these figures slightly and the July figures reflect that. This improved availability, together with the excellent range of fuel-efficient cars on the market, has increased competitiveness and encouraged consumers to return to the market. We look forward to this continuing."
Auditing firm KPMG agreed that smaller, more fuel-efficient cars are becoming more popular.
John Leech, partner in KPMG's automotive practice, said: "There has certainly been a return to smaller engined cars. The Ford Fiesta was the most popular car last month, followed by the Vauxhall Corsa.
"Generally, when you look at smaller engined cars, they are showing a significant increase year-on-year compared to mid-engine sized cars."
He said it was a particularly good time for consumers to make the most of good deals on new cars as manufacturers have a glut of vehicles due to lack of sales in countries like Spain, Italy and Greece.