Fri, Feb 07, 2014 - Page 14 News List

Hotai upbeat on growth in car sales

By Camaron Kao  /  Staff reporter

Hotai Motor Co (和泰汽車), which distributes Toyota and Lexus models in Taiwan, said yesterday that it expects the local car market to grow 4 percent to 390,000 units this year from a year ago due to growing replacement demand amid improving economic conditions.

More than half of the nation’s 7.37 million cars are more than 10 years old, a higher rate than Singapore’s 3 percent, the UK’s 9 percent and Japan’s 26 percent, Hotai said.

If the government is willing to provide subsidies for replacing older cars, total car sales this year will surpass 390,000 units, company president Justin Su (蘇純興) told reporters yesterday.

The government rejected a previous Hotai proposal to retire old vehicles by providing subsidies, but the company plans to submit a similar proposal later this year.

Car sales this year will also benefit from better economic conditions and the high market sentiment than began during the fourth quarter last year after new model launches, Su said.

“This year, Hotai aims to sell 132,600 cars, accounting for 34 percent of the total car market,” Eli Huang (黃明顯), the company’s director and chief officer of Toyota and Hino operations, told reporters yesterday.

The figure is 4 percent higher than the 127,220 units sold last year, he said.

The company expects to sell 120,600 Toyota cars, up 3.52 percent from 116,499 vehicles last year, with new versions of the VIOS sedan in the second quarter and a new Yaris subcompact in the fourth quarter, Huang said.

Huang said prices for the VIOS will be lower than the NT$646,000 (US$21,320) the company set for its new Altis sedan.

The company also raised its sales target for Lexus vehicles to 12,000 units this year from its record 10,724 units last year, Huang said, adding that it will launch a new sport utility vehicle and Lexus RC sedan in the fourth quarter.

Kuozui Motor Ltd (國瑞汽車) — Toyota’s car manufacturing arm in Taiwan — is set to make 200,000 cars this year, up from 173,705 last year, Huang said.

Among the 200,000 cars, Kuozui Motor will export 100,000 Altis sedans to the Middle East this year, up from 81,037 units last year, Huang said.

Hotai Motor Co owns 30 percent of Kuozui Motor’s shares, according to the company.

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