When is a recovery not a recovery? When it's a trick of the light. Last month's sharp rise in new-vehicle sales from a year earlier has offered a glimmer of hope after a year of misery. But while there seems no doubt that the vehicle market is over the worst of its Covid-inflicted trauma, the question is: are we seeing a sustainable recovery or simply a bounce off the basement floor?

Sales of new cars and commercial vehicles in March, at 44,217, were up 31.8% year on year. As a result, the aggregate market for the first three months of 2021 was 0.9% down on last year at 116,225. That's some improvement, considering that the year-on-year market at the end of February was 13.8% weaker...

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