Mon, May 07, 2012 - Page 11 News List

Car sales hit by fuel hikes this month: Morgan Stanley

Staff writer, with CNA

Taiwan’s automobile market posted lower-than-expected growth last month after the government implemented major hikes in fuel prices, Morgan Stanley analysts said in a recent note.

The US brokerage said that Taiwan’s car shipments totaled 28,616 units last month, up 8.9 percent from one year earlier and down 13.2 percent from March.

Sales in the first four months of this year reached 124,407 units, down 6.1 percent from the same period last year while tracking behind Morgan Stanley’s full-year expectation.

As a result, the brokerage has lowered its full-year volume forecast for the Taiwanese car market from 400,000 units to 380,000 units, implying flattish annual growth.

“We think consumer sentiment was somewhat dented by the government’s plans to raise gasoline and utility prices in April,” Morgan Stanley strategist Jeremy Chen (陳建名) said.

The government decided to raise fuel prices last month by 10.8 percent on average, the largest one-time increase since May 2008.

Hotai Motor Co (和泰汽車), the local sales agent for Japan’s Toyota Motors, reported shipments of 9,786 units last month, representing an annual growth of 27.8 percent, and helping it remain the country’s largest auto vendor.

Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley retained an “overweight” rating and a target price of NT$228 for the car dealer, in view of Hotai’s strong sales momentum, expected to be fueled by hybrid car shipments.

Last month, Hotai secured a 34.2 percent share of the local car market, while China Motor Corp (中華汽車), a joint company between Yulon Motor Co (裕隆汽車) and Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors, ranked second with 13.2 percent, the note said.

In third place was Yulon Nissan Motor Co (裕隆日產), a joint venture between Taiwan’s Yulon Group (裕隆) and Japan-based Nissan Motor, with 11.1 percent, followed by Honda Taiwan Co, Ford Lio Ho Motor Co and Hyundai Motor Co with 5.8 percent, 4.9 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively.

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