Domestic new car sales dropped 52.5 percent last month to 20,216 vehicles compared with 42,599 vehicles a month earlier, as the market entered the traditional low season following the Lunar New Year holiday, the latest industry data showed yesterday.
On an annual basis, last month’s figure was 8.2 percent lower than the 22,021 vehicles sold in the same month last year, according to statistics compiled by the data communication branch of Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信).
To avoid the Lunar New Year distortion, as the week-long festival takes place at a different time each year, total car sales were 62,815 vehicles in the first two months of the year, which was about the same as the number a year ago, the data showed.
The market share taken up by Hotai Motor Co (和泰汽車), which distributes Toyota and Lexus models, grew to 41.5 percent last month from 33.8 percent a month earlier, the data showed.
Hotai continued to lead the market as the company sold 8,391 cars, up 127.3 percent compared with a year ago and down 41.7 percent from a month earlier, according to the data.
“The rise of our market share and the year-on-year sales growth were because we extended a promotion until the end of the Lunar New Year holiday,” Hotai deputy spokesman Yu Shiao-chung (喻曉忠) said by telephone.
Furthermore, unlike Hotai, some other car companies tried to deliver their cars as early as January, reducing their sales numbers for last month, Yu said.
Looking ahead, Hotai expects total car sales in Taiwan this year to be 370,000 vehicles, slightly better than 365,871 last year.
Nissan and Infiniti car distributor Yulon Nissan Motor Co (裕隆日產) sold 2,156 vehicles last month, accounting for a market share of 10.7 percent.
Yulon Nissan replaced China Motor Corp (CMC, 中華汽車) in the No. 2 spot last month.
CMC, the manufacturer of Mitsubishi cars and the nation’s third-largest car company last month, sold 2,050 cars with a market share of 10.1 percent last month.
Meanwhile, Hotai said it had no plans to lower its car prices in response to the falling yen, but it would offer its clients loans with zero interest and a video driving recorder for free if they purchase Hotai’s cars by the end of this month.
Yulon Nissan also said it did not plan to cut prices.
On Thursday, Mazda Taiwan (台灣馬自達) announced it would cut car prices by more than 3 percent on average, beginning yesterday, making it the first Japanese car vendor to lower prices on the back of a weakening yen.