Thu, Jun 03, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Carmaker making use of high oil price

SILVER LINING With Chinese Petroleum poised to raise prices at the pump, one of the nation's carmakers is offering buyers of its cars cheaper fuel as an incentive

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Ford Lio Ho Motor Co (福特六和), Taiwan’s No.4 automaker, offers sharp fuel discount to its new-car owners in cooperation with state-run Chinese Petroleum Corp (CPC, 中油) in a move to boost sales in the conventionally slow season, a company official said yesterday.

The move came as the global oil prices surged to about 21 year high to around US$42 a barrel and CPC is mulling to jack up local gasoline prices by about 4.5 percent.

"We hope to the promotion will bring us a 20 percent increase in car sales this month," said Wesley Liu (劉淳瑋), a vice president of Ford Lio Ho's marketing and sales division.

Ford Lio Ho, a local affiliate of Ford Motor Co of the US, said consumers, who buy vehicles in June, will enjoy 40-percent off gasoline prices at CPC’s some 1,700 gas stations around the nation during the six-month period to the year-end.

State-run Chinese Petroleum is set to raise gasoline prices as early as tomorrow in reaction to a spike in global oil prices, after OPEC met yesterday to discuss raising output, a company executive said yesterday at the same event.

"We will raise fuel prices no matter what OPEC concludes during the meeting in Beirut," said Chiang Chung-chen (江中鎮), a deputy executive manager at Chinese Petroleum. "It is only a matter of how big the price hike will be."

Ford Lio Ho sold 3,922 vehicles last month, about 11 percent of the 35,000 cars sold in Taiwan.

The promotion will cost the company between NT$100 million and NT$150 million, Liu estimated.

The offer will cover total spending on gasoline of up to NT$5,000 a month per driver. The carmaker said the average driver spends NT$4,000 a month on fuel.

Smaller rival Formosa Automobile Corp (台塑汽車), which adopted a similar measure to boost sales last year, said it did not plan to restore the marketing strategy anytime soon.

Last year, Formosa, a unit of Formosa Plastics Group (台塑集團), offered NT$1,000 to NT$1,500 coupons for its new customers to pump gasoline at Formosa Petrochemical Corp's (台塑石化) 650 gas stations.

Formosa Petrochemical is also a member of the Formosa Plastics Group.

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