Wed, Oct 05, 2005 - Page 10 News List

Auto industry reports a healthy growth in sales

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The nation's automobile industry reported healthy growth last month, driven by a slew of launches and promotion activities, automakers said yesterday.

According to the latest statistics compiled by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, Taiwan's automobile sales reached a total of 44,073 units last month, compared to 27,620 units in August.

"A number of launches of next year's models as well as promotion activities last month selling off old models drove up sales across the board," said Steven Yang (楊湘泉), spokesman for Hotai Motor Co (和泰汽車), which distributes both Toyota and Lexus vehicles.

The company saw positive sales last month especially in the Altis lineup -- a family of sedans falling in the mainstream category of vehicles with an engine capacity of between 1.6 liters to 2.0 liters.

"The market demand in the 1.6L to 2.0L segment will continue, as affordability is one of the factors pushing the stable sales of these models," Yang said.

Meanwhile, the Focus lineup continued to provide the hottest models last month for Ford Lio Ho Motor Co (福特六和), Taiwan's fourth-biggest automaker and a distributor of Ford cars.

Ford Lio Ho sold 1,307 Focus 1.8L and 2.0L units last month, up from 980 units a month earlier.

According to the firm's brand manager Joanne Kao (高瑾馨), Focus hatchback models, the first such models in the mainstream segment, have seen encouraging sales since their introduction early this year.

"The sales proportion of the hatchback models now accounts for 45 percent of all Focus models, which increased from the earlier 30 percent," she said.

Hatchback vehicles, offering more convenience with larger trunk space, are gaining in popularity as more urban drivers are opting for them to represent their unique tastes, according to Kao.

Looking forward, the fourth quarter, driven by more vehicle launches targeted at consumers who intend to switch over to newer models, is also poised to deliver better growth over the same period of last year.

In Hotai Motor's case, it is forecast to record 5 percent growth quarter-on-quarter, Yang said.

As the ministry's data indicated that a total of 405,932 units was sold nationwide in the first nine months of the year, the whole-year volume is likely to surpass 500,000 units to reach around 520,000 units sold, he said.

In the January-to-September period, Hotai Motor continued to lead the market with a share of 28 percent at 113,616 unit sales, while China Motor Corp (中華汽車) was second with a 17.4 percent market share at 70,675 units, according to the statistics.

The Yulon Nissan Motor Co (裕隆日產) was third with 13.5 percent at 54,810 units. The fourth and fifth positions went to Ford Lio Ho and Mazda Taiwan, with shares of 11.1 percent and 6 percent respectively, according to statistics.

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