(Oct 30): The best-performing sector in the global stock markets over the last two months has been neither internet technology nor oil. Rather, it is one that had been a laggard for years: automobile manufacturers. As investors chased up shares in fledgling electric carmaker Tesla, giants such as General Motors, Toyota Motor and Ford Motor saw their own fortunes decline.

Since mid-August, however, there has been a sea change in sentiment as investors have circled back to legacy carmakers in the realisation that they could actually take a significant chunk of the electric vehicle (EV) market. Shares in GM, which overtook Tesla as the most valuable car company last month, are up 34% over the past two months.

Not since Henry Ford introduced the moving Model T assembly line more than 100 years ago has the automotive industry seen such a fundamental transformation, says Sam Korus, a New York-based analyst for ARK Investment, which manages a range of tech funds. Increasing fascination with electrification, connected cars and autonomous driving has refocused attention on the global passenger car industry. “We are moving from car ownership to a new ‘Transportation as a service’ paradigm, where we will be able to rent autonomous, electric cars whenever we need them,” says Beijia Ma, a strategist for Bank of America Merrill Lynch in London.

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