The Surge in China's Auto Sales May Soon Slow

A General Motors Co. Chevrolet dealership in Beijing, China Photograph by Nelson Ching/Bloomberg

As a long Chinese holiday came to an end Wednesday, drivers heading into Beijing needed more patience than usual. Even on ordinary workdays, big traffic jams are unavoidable in the Chinese capital, as more and more people switch from bikes to cars. And at the conclusion of a three-day holiday for Qing Ming, the traditional festival when Chinese go to the graves of family members, the roads into Beijing were jampacked. That’s life in the world’s largest auto market: Chinese bought almost 16.5 million autos last year, up from 7.56 million in 2009. Vehicle sales in China have jumped more than fivefold in the past decade.

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