Sat, Jan 22, 2005 - Page 10 News List

Prices of imported cars expected to rise soon

LUXURY SEDANS The strengthening euro and hikes by European manufacturers are putting pressure on Taiwanese importers to raise their prices for new vehicles

By Amber Chung  /  STAFF REPORTER

People intending to buy imported luxury vehicles may have to speed up their plans, as vendors of cars imported from Europe are planning to raise prices after the Lunar New Year holiday to keep up with soaring costs resulting from the strengthening euro.

"We will raise our selling prices by 2 percent for all series in March or April, when the 2005-model cars hit the market," Jeff Wang (王敬淳), public relations manager of Volvo Car Taiwan, said yesterday.

The price hikes aim to ease rising cost pressures created by the appreciation of the euro, as well as European manufacturers raising their prices for new cars, Wang said.

To counter the possible negative effect higher prices might have on demand, importers plan to promote preferential loan schemes, such as zero-interest installment payment plans, as well as upgrading accessories, Wang said.

Volvo, which racked up the fifth highest sales among imported vehicles after Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, BMW and Audi, hopes to sell around 2,000 vehicles in Taiwan this year, up from 1,721 units last year, according to the company.

Jaguar also plans to adjust its prices upward.

"We will increase our prices by between 2 percent and 3 percent for all our models in March," said Chris Lee (李御林), general sales manager at Jaguar Taiwan, who cited the strengthening British pound as the main reason.

Jaguar Taiwan, which sold 491 of the luxury sedans last year, expects to see growth of 20 percent in its sales volume this year.

Another importer, Beldare Motors Ltd Taiwan Branch (標達), which distributes Volkswagens, is considering hikes as well, following a 5 percent increase in the price of new cars by the German manufacturer.

But Beldare may not make its final decision until the arrival of the Lunar New Year, said the company's marketing supervisor, Neo Chen (陳明坤).

DaimlerChrysler Taiwan Ltd, which distributes Mercedes-Benz vehicles, and Pan German Motors Ltd (汎德汽車), which sells BMWs, have reportedly raised their prices by between 1 percent and 3.5 percent earlier this month.

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