Tue, Feb 07, 2017 - Page 12 News List

Hotai looking to increase market share

WITH BENEFITS:The company is not relying on the government’s new car subsidy this year to improve sales, but is instead launching several new Toyota models

By Kuo Chia-erh  /  Staff reporter

Hotai Motor Co (和泰汽車), the nation’s largest car distributor, yesterday said it aims to increase its local market share from 31.7 percent to 32.5 percent this year, supported by sales of its new models.

The company has also set an annual target to sell 140,000 cars, compared with last year’s 139,495, Hotai president Justin Su (蘇純興) said.

The company is relatively conservative about its sales outlook for this year, as the benefit of the government’s subsidy program might not be as effective as last year, Su told reporters.

The government’s five-year subsidy program offers car owners a NT$50,000 discount on commodity taxes when they buy a new car within six months of exporting or scrapping their used car.

Last year, the nation’s new car sales increased 4.5 percent to an 11-year-high of 439,629 units, data compiled by local motor vehicle branches showed.

Hotai, which distributes Toyota and Lexus models in the nation, saw its sales increase 5 percent last year from the previous year.

“However, this year might be a challenging year for the company” to sustain solid sales growth, Su said, citing currency fluctuations and the US’ trade policy among other uncertainties.

Despite the conservative outlook, Hotai said it hopes to grab more market share by launching new models.

The company plans to launch several new models in the first half of this year, including the subcompact crossover SUV Toyota C-HR in March and the mid-size hybrid Toyota Prius PHV in the second quarter, Hotai spokesman Simon Liu (劉松山) said.

It is scheduled to introduce the luxury sports coupe Lexus LC in the second quarter and the Lexus LS in the fourth quarter.

The company also unveiled its expansion plan under which it plans to spend more than NT$3 billion (US$97 million) building four new outlets for Toyota cars and enlarging three of its existing showrooms.

The four new outlets are be in Taipei, New Taipei City and Hualien, the company said.

The company has also developed a new marketing strategy with a focus on interacting with customers on social media, including on Facebook and Instagram, Liu told reporters.

Hotai shares fell 0.99 percent to close at NT$349 in Taipei trading yesterday, underperforming the benchmark TAIEX, which increased 0.87 percent to 9,538.01, Taiwan Stock Exchange data showed.

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