Local automobile vendors reported a decline of over 40 percent in car sales in the first half of August because of the so-called "Ghost Month effect," company officials said yesterday.
"This is a normal seasonal decline caused by the `Ghost Month effect.' As some families now go overseas during this month for their summer holidays, this further drags down vehicle sales," said Wu Hsin-fa (吳新發), spokesman of Yulon Nissan Motor Co (裕隆日產), the nation's third-largest car vendor.
The seventh month of the lunar year, known as Ghost Month, falls between Aug. 5 and Sept. 3 this year. Generally, business sentiments will be weaker as Chinese and Taiwanese people tend not to make big purchases during this non-auspicious month.
Yulon Nissan Motor said that its car sales dropped around 40 percent compared to other months, Wu said.
According to statistics from the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, Hotai Motor Co (和泰汽車), Taiwan's largest auto maker that also distributes both Toyota and Lexus models, reported sales of new automobiles of 2,793 units from Aug. 1 to Aug. 20, a 42 percent dive from a month ago.
In the same period, smaller rivals China Motors Corp (中華汽車) and Ford Lio Ho Motor Co (福特六和) reported sales of 1,676 and 1,667 units respectively, according to the official statistics. A total of 13,088 units were sold in this period.
In a bid to further increase Yulon Nissan Motor's visibility in the market, the company is slated to hold road shows over the next few months to promote its new models for next year, giving consumers a sneak preview, Wu said.
However, riding on the growth momentum of automobile sales this year, which is projected to reach over 500,000 units, Hotai Motor raises its predicted sales from 142,000 to 150,000 units, spokesman Steven Yang (楊湘泉) said.
"Economic sentiments remain positive for the second half of the year," Yang said.
He foresees that consumers will continue to seek vehicles with lower fuel consumption because of rising fuel costs.
China Motors, the nation's second-largest automaker, has a good chance of surpassing its initial sales target of 88,000 units and reach 90,000 units by the end of the year, one of its managers said.