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The World’s Car Industry Pins Its Hopes on China’s Recovery

  • Swift rebound from outbreak cements China’s importance in cars
  • Automakers gather at Beijing show to tout post-Covid offerings
Employees work on Lynk & Co. 05 crossover sport utility vehicles (SUV) in the paint shop at the Geely Automobile plant in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, China on April 28.
Employees work on Lynk & Co. 05 crossover sport utility vehicles (SUV) in the paint shop at the Geely Automobile plant in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, China on April 28.Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg
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For two years, falling sales seemed to spell the end for China’s time as the world’s most vital car market. Then came the coronavirus, followed by a swift recovery that’s left Europe and the U.S. in its dust.

Now — more than ever — China is the focus of the hopes of automakers around the globe. Sales of passenger cars in Asia’s largest economy have increased for two months, while the other major markets have continued to shrink, with Europe slumping 18% in August. And China is set to be the first to bounce back to 2019 volume levels, albeit as late as 2022, according to researchers including S&P Global Ratings. All the while maintaining its hefty lead over Europe and the U.S.