Wed, Mar 05, 2014 - Page 14 News List

Last month’s new vehicle sales plunge 53.1 percent

HIT-AND-RUN HOLIDAY:Lunar New Year effects on production and working days drove purchase rates over a seasonal cliff, reshuffling top local distributors

By Camaron Kao  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan’s new car sales slowed last month because of the Lunar New Year holiday and overall sales dropped 53.1 percent from January, with major vendors experiencing double-digit percentage declines.

Fewer working days and lower production levels during the holiday period kept the market’s overall sales at 20,796 passenger and commercial vehicles last month, according to statistics compiled by the data communication branch of Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) on Monday.

The number showed a 2.9 percent increase over the previous year, according to the data.

Sales of market leader Hotai Motor Co (和泰), which distributes Toyota and Lexus cars in Taiwan, fell 54.2 percent from January to 6,136 units.

Yulon Nissan Motor Co (裕隆日產), which distributes Nissan and Infiniti cars, saw sales drop 61.7 percent to 2,265 units from the previous month.

China Motor Corp (中華), which distributes Mitsubishi sedans and its own brand of CMC commercial vehicles, suffered a sales decline of 48.9 percent month-on-month to 2,431 units last month.

However the relatively slower decline than its peers’ was good enough for the company to replace Yulon Nissan as the second-largest car vendor, with a market share of 11.7 percent.

China Motor said the results reflected that its sales of commercial vehicles were less affected by the Lunar New Year holiday than those of other types of cars.

“While most sedan buyers tend to make purchases before the Lunar New Year, customers for commercial vehicles do not have such a preference, making the company’s sales decline less significant,” China Motor manager Joan Lin (林玲君) said by telephone.

China Motor sold 2,337 commercial vehicles last month, down 41.9 percent from January but up 24.8 percent from a year ago, data said. Overall, the firm’s sales were up 18.6 percent from a year ago.

Yulon Nissan vice president Leman Lee (李振成) said lower production levels caused fewer car sales for the company last month, noting a decision by Yulon Motor Co (裕隆), which makes both Nissan and Luxgen-brand cars, to allocate part of its capacity to fulfill higher Luxgen U6 SUV orders.

Sales of its flagship Super Sentra sedans fell 66.3 percent month-on-month to 772 units. Additionally, Yulon Nissan’s market share slid to 10.9 percent last month from 13.4 percent in January.

However, Lee said the company could return to No. 2 this month with a sales target of 4,000 cars, including 1,200 Super Sentra sedans.

With the nation’s best-selling sport-utility vehicle (SUV) model in its product lineup, Luxgen Motor Co (納智捷) ranked the sixth-largest car vendor by distributing 1,146 cars last month, including 718 units of its U6 Turbo SUV.

Yet Luxgen’s overall sales retreated 63 percent from January and its U6 Turbo sales were 67.9 percent lower than the previous month, because of a high comparison base, data showed.

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