Passenger car sales in Japan were 6.8% ahead of last year as at the end of February, rising to 634,162 from 593,880. That makes it four months out of the last five that car sales have risen against year ago levels, and under most circumstances that would be regarded as good news for the sector. However, despite the upturn, which came after 18 consecutive falls in the market, there is still an absence of the feel good factor. The problem for the Japanese is that the recovery has come about through rather artificial means rather than a natural return to the growth trail.