This paper is concerned with the interaction of regulated efficiency and World Trade Organization (WTO) accession and its impact on China’s motor vehicle sector. The analysis is conducted using a 23 sector–25 region computable general equilibrium model. Regulatory reform and internal restructuring are found to be critical. Restructuring is represented by a cost reduction following from consolidation and rationalization that moves costs toward global norms. Without restructuring, WTO accession means a surge of final imports, though imports of parts could well fall as production moves offshore. However, with restructuring, the final assembly industry can be made competitive by world standards, with a strengthened position for the industry.