New car sales last month rose 3.6 percent from April and 1 percent from a year earlier to 35,686 units.
However, weak sales by local automakers Hotai Motor Co (和泰汽車) and Yulon Nissan Motor Co (裕隆日產), in contrast with a steady increase in sales of imported cars, highlighted challenges for local vendors as the summer high sales season starts this month.
Overall, new car sales in the first five months of this year rose 4.1 percent year-on-year to 184,305 units, online auto information Web site U-Car reported on Friday, citing data compiled by local motor vehicle branches.
“Last month’s data showed that Hotai and Yulon Nissan reported a general decline in passenger car sales, as well as China Motor Corp’s (中華汽車) continuous skewing toward commercial vehicles, pointing at difficulties for the traditional ‘big three’ in the domestic market,” U-Car said in the report.
“However, as the overall market scale was little changed last month, the implication is that demand remains, but consumer preferences have changed, which can be seen from the rising sales of domestically made sport utility vehicles [SUVs] by Honda Taiwan Co (台灣本田) and the still-popular imported cars brought by Mercedes-Benz Taiwan Ltd (台灣賓士),” U-Car said. “Today’s consumers demand more car options, better specifications and features, as well as a wide range of price points.”
Honda last month saw its sales increase 24 percent from April and 42.2 percent from a year earlier to 3,658 vehicles to secure third place with a 7.9 percent share thanks to steady demand for its CR-V SUVs, the data showed.
Mercedes-Benz reported a 25.1 percent monthly increase in sales to 2,823 cars, up 22.2 percent from a year earlier.
The European luxury brand secured the fifth spot and saw its market share increase to 7.9 percent, in tandem with an expansion in the overall market for imported cars, with its share increasing to 44.5 percent from 43.8 percent in April, the data showed.
Hotai, which distributes Toyota and Lexus models, remained the leader with a 26.6 percent market share, even though its sales fell 6.5 percent month-on-month and 8.5 percent annually to 9,492 vehicles as weak deliveries of its Corolla Altis, Vios and Yaris models offset gains for Lexus, the data showed.
Yulon Nissan, which sells Nissan and Infiniti cars, saw its ranking fall one notch to fourth as sales decreased 3.2 percent monthly and 13.5 percent annually to 2,933 vehicles, dragged down mainly by weak showings by the Tiida and Sentra sedan lineups.
China Motor, which distributes Mitsubishi sedans and its own CMC-brand commercial vehicles, saw sales increase 5.6 percent month-on-month and 5.4 percent annually to 3,658 vehicles, the data showed.
Increasing sales in Veryca commercial trucks, Zinger recreational vehicles and Delica light vans helped China Motor remain No. 2 with an 11.3 percent market share, but the Delica series is facing growing competition from Hyundai Motor Co’s Porter lightweight pickups, U-Car said.
Mazda Motor Taiwan (台灣馬自達) reported mixed results, with sales rising 5.3 percent monthly, but falling 1.8 percent annually as the company waits for redesigned models of the popular Mazda 3 sedans to ignite sales momentum.
The firm sold 1,882 vehicles, including 772 Mazda 3 sedans and 734 CX-5 SUVs, which put it comfortably in sixth place with a 5.3 percent market share, the data showed.
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