Sat, Nov 04, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Auto sales plunge 30%, no signs of a recovery

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The nation's sluggish auto market witnessed another sharp drop in the first 10 months of the year, with no signs of a pickup in the last two months of the year, automakers said yesterday.

Car sales from January to last month totaled 309,243 units, rep-resenting a 30 percent drop from the corresponding period last year, according to figures released by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.

Sharp dips

Ford Lio Ho Motor Co (福特六和), the nation's fourth-biggest automaker, saw the largest decline of 45 percent to 26,811 units during the period.

Yulon Nissan Motor Co (裕隆日產), the third-largest automaker, did not fare much better, with sales dipping 41 percent to 33,950 units.

The top two manufacturers, Hotai Motor Co (和泰汽車) and China Motor Corp (中華汽車), reported declines of 28 percent and 36 percent, to 87,927 units and 49,250 units, respectively.

The statistics also showed that sales last month were down 30 percent to only 23,005 cars compared with the year-earlier period.

Promotions

"As vendors launched aggressive promotions in late September, this absorbed some of the sales in October," said Steven Yang (楊湘泉), spokesman for Hotai Motor.

With no positive catalysts in sight to stimulate sales and the upcoming mayoral elections in Taipei and Kaohsiung likely to deter buying sentiment, Yang said that sales would likely remain lackluster for the remainder of the year.

Sales for the entire year would likely follow the downward pattern, dropping 30 percent to around 360,000 units, he said.

But sales are expected to show a slight improvement to 380,000 units next year as the consumer bad-debt problem fades, Yang said.

Given the rising cost of materials, automakers said they are considering a small price hike for locally produced cars next year.

Automakers' January-September sales

* Ford Lio Ho, down 45 percent to 26,811 units.

* Yulon Nissan Motor, down 41 percent to 33,950 units.

* Hotai Motor, down 28 percent to 87,927 units.

* China Motor, down 36 percent to 49,250 units.


Huang Wen-cheng (黃文成), president of China Motor, assured buyers last month that they would offer consumers better auto parts to make up for the price hikes.

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