Something rare is happening in China.

A car show, with live humans allowed to attend.

If that seems like a blast from the pre-crisis past, so do some of the auto sales figures coming out of the country.

Chinese car sales rose 11.6% on the year in August.

That was a fifth straight monthly gain, coming after a 79% plunge in February.

Speaking at the show, Nissan chief Makoto Uchida was one to hail the rebound:

“In the wake of the pandemic, the rebound of Nissan China sales has been an inspiration. There has been strong sales growth, compared to last year.”

Doubts remain over the durability of the recovery.

But makers have been delighted by demand for mid-sized and luxury cars.

Premium wheels accounted for a record 15% of sales in the country last month.

There’s also a flood of interest, and investment, in electric vehicles.

Domestic startups including Nio a nd Xpeng have together raised more than 8 billion dollars this year.

Bryan Gu is Xpeng president:

“I think you start to see a burst of interest in this area. We always say that this year given our products as well as some of the other products launched by our peers, you start to see this whole smart electric vehicle sector taking off.”

For all the glitz and good cheer at this year’s show, it’s still a tough time.

China’s car industry association says sales this year will be down almost 10%.

That, however, is better than the up-to-25% drop predicted at the height of the crisis.

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