Well documented are the woes of the UK car industry - a sector hit by a double whammy of post-Brexit trade worries and Covid-19.

 

But having been virtually zeroed by the pandemic, could there be a silver lining for the ailing motor industry?

Signs from China - the first to emerge from lockdown - suggest there could be.

 

Chinese people appear to be flocking back to the private motor car, in part, it seems, due to fears over coronavirus.

Congestion in China's big cities has returned to 90% of pre-lockdown levels.

 

Public transport, however, is running at 50%; there appear to be serious concerns over contracting the virus on trains and buses.

 

Since the threat of Covid-19 may not fully dissipate for months or even years, the private motor car could see a dramatic return.

 

Indeed, Volvo China says it has enjoyed a year-on-year sales increase of 20 per cent, while the entire Chinese market for April has seen a 4.4 annualised sales increase.

 

But the world's car makers still face big challenges. Even if consumers want to buy new cars, they may not have the money - or may feel that saving is more prudent in these uncertain times. The faltering global economy - which may be hit by further outbreaks in the coming months - means people are not as well off as they once were.

 

So while it’s true China has seen a rebound in sales, there's no guarantee it will be repeated in the US or Europe.