Sat, Jun 02, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Yulon-Nissan lowers its prices in car-price war

CAR TROUBLE:Sales by the local car industry grew by 9.1% last month from April, suggesting dealers’ promotions are having an impact on consumers

By George Liao and Kevin Chen  /  Staff reporters

Yulon-Nissan Motor Co (裕隆日產) yesterday announced price cuts to promote three of its fuel--efficient entry-level cars, joining the growing price war being waged between foreign car dealers in the local market.

Yulon-Nissan is offering price reductions that range from NT$26,000 (US$882) to NT$33,000, or between 4 percent and 6 percent, for three of its Green Family cars until the end of next month, the company said.

GREEN FAMILY

The company is promoting its Green Family series because of its “low fuel consumption, low exhaust emissions and low noise,” qualities consumers are now most interested in besides a powerful performance.

These qualities appeal to consumers because they want to help save energy and reduce their own carbon footprint, as well as to save money amid rising fuel prices, the company said.

Yulon-Nissan said it aims to sell about 600 cars a month on the back of its promotional prices.

The company said earlier it expects car sales in Taiwan to fall to 360,000 units this year, from 378,000 units last year, as the weakness of the local stock market has undermined consumer confidence, which is likely to drag down demand for cars.

The other two of the top three local car dealers, Hotai Motor Co (和泰汽車) and China Motor Co (中華汽車), have not yet been drawn into the latest bout of price-cutting.

PROMOTIONAL PRICES

Foreign car dealers are currently offering favorable promotional prices for some of their cars, including the Mazda 3, the Hyundai i30, and the Volkswagon Polo and the Passat 1.8TSI.

The price cuts on offer range from NT$30,000 to NT$160,000, with the Volkswagon Polo and the Passat 1.8TSI models offering the most generous deals, by slashing NT$110,000 and NT$160,000 respectively off their original prices.

Local Passat dealers said they expected the huge price cut to help Passat sales double year-on-year from 3,000 units to 6,000 units.

However, this latest round in the price war indicates that the local car market is undergoing a serious slowdown as a result of recent large-scale rises in the price of fuel, an industry source said.

FUEL PRICES

In April, the Ministry of Economic Affairs announced increases of between 7 percent and 11 percent for petroleum-based fuel products, as the government moves away from subsidizing domestic fuel.

Despite that, domestic refiners have actually cut gasoline prices by NT$1.8 per liter over the past eight weeks as lingering concerns over the eurozone’s debt problems have driven down global crude oil prices.

Meanwhile, the domestic automobile industry saw the number of new-car sales grow by 9.1 percent last month from April, suggesting that car dealers’ vigorous marketing activities and car buyers’ growing interest in fuel--efficient vehicles has so far helped to offset the negative impact of the eurozone debt problems.

Last month, 31,213 new vehicles were sold nationwide, up 27.6 percent year-on-year, according to the latest figures from Chunghwa Telecom Co's Data Communication Business Group (中華電信數據通信分公司).

Hotai, which distributes Toyota and Lexus cars, reported that its sales rose 13.3 percent to 11,087 vehicles in April, a market share of 35.5 percent.

Last month’s figures were 219.9 percent higher than the previous year, the latest industry data showed.

China Motor took second place with a market share of 13.6 percent. It sold 4,253 Mitsubishi and CMC cars last month, up 12.7 percent month-on-month, but down 13.6 percent year-on-year, data showed.

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