Local automakers are coming up with a slew of new promotional ideas to revive sluggish sales.
China Motor Corp (
The company launched a limited edition of its Mitsubishi Lancer iCon sedan earlier this week.
The vehicles are the first locally assembled cars with an integrated music panel for Apple Computer Inc's iPod digital music players.
China Motor said it expects the 1,000-unit quota of the 1.6-liter Lancer iCons, priced at NT$499,000 (US$15,923), to sell out within three months.
"IPods are such a red-hot gadget in the market nowadays, and our marketing strategy is to link technology with cars to target younger drivers," said China Motor spokesman Hsu Li-min (
Collaboration across different industries, in this case with Apple Computer Taiwan, would be a win-win for both parties, he said.
Carmakers are trying hard to boost sales, which have been declining over the past few months. According to statistics compiled by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, auto sales plunged 27.7 percent last month from the same period a year earlier.
Total sales for the first four months of the year fell 24.4 percent compared to last year, with Ford Lio Ho Motor Co (
Though purchasing sentiment showed signs of improvement this month, Hsu said it was premature to comment how the second quarter would turn out.
"Rising consumer debt in the first three months resulted in banks tightening up their loan approval rates, which had a huge impact on the car market," he said, adding that vendors have been more cautious on the outlook.
China Motor is set to cut its annual sales target this year from an earlier
figure of 88,000 units, but the exact number would not be announced until
the company's board gives its approval, Hsu said.
He expected that total sales for the whole industry this year will hover
around the 420,000-unit mark, compared to the optimistic estimate of 500,000
units set by the industry at the beginning of the year.
Last year, auto sales smashing a 10-year record to surpassed 500,000 units,
reaching 514,626 units, a 6.3 percent increase from 484,286 units sold in
2004, according to the ministry's data.
The brisk figure was stimulated by automakers' aggressive zero-percent
financing programs and growth in demand for recreational and utility
Meanwhile, Ford Lio Ho Motor has taken a more conventional approach to
boosting sales by offering buyers rebate on their purchases this month based
on the mileage of their current cars. The offer is targeted at consumers
seeking to upgrade their current vehicles.
The discount could be as much as 10 percent of the retail prices of the new
cars, Ford Lio Ho said.