Sat, Dec 28, 2013 - Page 14 News List

Automaker expects flat 2014 market

EMISSIONS STANDARDS:Vehicles built in line with the new emissions rules have pushed some price tags to more than NT$1 million, which is likely to affect sales

By Camaron Kao  /  Staff reporter

Hotai Motor Co (和泰汽車), the largest car distributor in Taiwan, said yesterday that it expects the local car market to be flat next year with sales of 366,000 units to 367,000 units as car makers are set to revamp more existing models to meet new emissions standards.

Starting in September, all car makers were required to stop manufacturing cars that do not meet new emissions standards, the company said. Hotai distributes Toyota and Lexus models in Taiwan.

Hotai is to revamp its Vios, a four-door subcompact sedan, and launch a new version of the car in the second quarter of next year, Hotai spokesman Fred Hsieh (謝富來) said on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of the Taipei International Auto Show.

Hotai aimed to slighty increase its market share to 34 percent next year, from this year’s estimate of 33.6 percent, Hsieh said.

“Total car sales this year grew faster than we expected as sales of major car distributors increased significantly in the fourth quarter helped by new car launches,” Hsieh said.

Many distributors launched flagship models this quarter, such as Hotai’s Corona Altis sedan and Yulon Nissan Motor Co’s (裕隆日產) Super Sentra passenger car. Yulon is the local distributor of Nissan and Infiniti cars.

China Motor Corp (中華汽車), which distributes Mitsubishi sedans and own-brand CMC commercial vehicles, was more optimistic and expects the local car market to grow to between 370,000 units and 400,000 units next year as economic conditions improve.

From January through Dec. 20, the company sold 40,680 cars, down 14 percent from a year ago because it sold fewer commercial cars and subcompact Colt Plus vehicles than it expected.

“Commercial cars need to be reliable. Customers are still evaluating whether our own-brand 3.5-tonne Leadca can perform as well as other brands,” said Chien Ching-wu (錢經武), general manager of the company’s business division.

As for the company’s 3.5-tonne Mitsubishi Fuso Canter commercial vehicle, Chien said it would take time for customers to accept the minimum price tag of NT$1 million for a commercial vehicle that is in accordance with the new emissions standards.

Mitsubishi’s Fuso Canter sales dropped to 4,000 this year from 7,000 units a year ago after the company revamped the vehicle, the company said.

Chien said the market’s focus was on larger cars like the Altis and Super Sentra, which pushed its Colt Plus sales lower than expected.

Chien expects the company’s sales will reach 42,000 units this year, down 13.23 percent from 48,407 units a year ago.

The Taipei International Auto Show was set to open today and run through Jan. 5 at the Taipei World Trade Center (TWTC) Exhibition Hall 1.

Ticket prices were set at NT$250 for one adult.

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