Sat, Aug 24, 2013 - Page 14 News List

Audi launches new A3 during Ghost Month, despite low market sentiment

By Camaron Kao  /  Staff reporter

Audi Taiwan Co Ltd (台灣奧迪) yesterday launched its new A3 Sportback despite dampened market sentiment during Ghost Month, eyeing the strong growth in the nation’s small-size luxury car market.

Market share of small-size premium cars grew to 19.6 percent of the total luxury car market of 30,210 units during the January-to-July period, up from 15.5 percent last year and 11.2 percent in 2011, Audi Taiwan managing director Daniel Khoo (邱山祥) said.

CONFIDENCE

“Although consumer confidence is still low amid weak global economic conditions, we are confident in this luxury car segment,” Khoo said.

The company sold out of the first generation A3 Sportsback in March.

The company expects to sell 600 units of the new A3 Sportback by the end of this year.

Last year, Audi sold 4,029 cars in Taiwan, accounting for 8.2 percent of the nation’s luxury car market of 49,037 units.

Khoo said the company is not likely to achieve the target of 5,000 cars this year in following a slow global economic recovery.

RETAIL OUTLETS

However, the company aims to increase its number of retail outlets to 16 or 17 in 2017 from the current 10, Khoo said, adding that each outlet will have to sell 250 to 300 cars a year to break even.

Audi’s main competitor, Mercedes-Benz, has about 23 local outlets, according to Khoo.

The company’s sales dropped 46 percent year-on-year to 47 units in the first 20 days this month, as customers tend to avoid buying cars during Ghost Month, or the seventh month on the lunar calendar.

Total car sales in Taiwan declined 35 percent to 11,519 units over the same period, the latest industrial data showed.

However, sales of Ford Lio Ho Motor Co (福特六和), a Taiwanese subsidiary of the US-based Ford Motor Co, rose 14.9 percent to 1,087 units between Aug. 1 and Tuesday from the previous month and became the fourth-largest car distributor in Taiwan.

Ford Lio Ho’s public relations manager Shawn Huang (黃南瑄) attributed the growth to last month’s launch of its new compact sport utility vehicle (SUV) Kuga, which was priced between NT$888,000 and NT$1.2 million (US$29.700 and US$40,100).

POPULAR MODELS

“We believe SUVs and medium-sized cars with 2 liter engines will be the most popular models in Taiwan,” Huang said by telephone yesterday.

Kuga sales in the first 20 days of this month topped 446 units, the highest among all SUVs, followed by 299 units of Honda Taiwan Co’s (台灣本田) CR-V.

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