Mon, Jan 07, 2008 - Page 12 News List

Taipei auto show ends, visitors down 8 percent

By Felix Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER

The nine-day Taipei International Autoshow (TIA, 台北國際車展) came to an end yesterday, having attracted about 230,000 visitors -- an 8 percent drop from two years ago.

It was a satisfactory year for the biannual show, organizer Taipei Automobile Distributors Association (TADA, 台北市汽車公會) said.

Despite worries over the economy, car distributors had similar budgets as those from previous shows and did not skimp out on the floor, a TADA public relations official said.

She said expectations of attendance were low prior to the show, because of low consumer confidence, high oil prices and concerns about the economy.

Attendance still exceeded initial expectations, mostly as the result of the release of new models and concept cars, as well as consumers looking for discounts and better deals, the official said.

Consumers may have been holding off buying decisions due to the sluggish economy. However, environmentally friendly cars, luxury models and show floor discounts gave some of them enough incentive to put down an order, she said.

Nissan (裕隆日產) said it expected to see a 20 percent to 30 percent growth in floor orders, with 60 percent of orders going to its most popular model, the Nissan Livina, public relations manager Hsieh Ting-lin (謝汀麟) said.

Nissan sees the Livina model as a new market niche, combining the fuel economy of small cars, the space of multi-purpose vehicles and the utility of sports utility vehicles (SUVs). Sales of this model line should remain strong this year, Hsieh said.

Honda Taiwan (台灣本田) spokesman Chen Chun-liang (陳俊亮) said the company's small SUV model, or CR-V, drew the most attention, regardless of pre-sale figures. Moreover, consumers were already trying to place orders for the yet-to-be-released new Accord sedan, Chen said.

However, not all companies were as satisfied.

Hotai Motor Co (和泰汽車) spokesman Steven Yang (楊湘泉) said that as the show was closing, most of its gifts had not been handed out.

The auto show is not a dealership showroom, Yang said. Rather, people come to the show to see high-end models, rare vehicles and concerts.

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