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Carmakers fret over China's slowing auto market

Carmakers fret over China's slowing auto market

A decade ago, Chinese drivers bought just 6 million cars annually, less than a tenth of the vehicles sold worldwide. By last year, after an explosion of wealth for the middle and upper classes there, they bought almost 24 million vehicles — accounting for more than a quarter of global sales and a huge share of profits for major automakers. Cars have become a key symbol of success among the Chinese. That's why automakers such as Ford, General Motors and Volkswagen are watching the turmoil in China's economy and stock markets there with trepidation. "What happens in China is the most important factor globally for most automakers," said John Hoffecker, a vice...

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