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New car sales in July climbed 13.6%

GHOST MONTH:Buying ahead of the inauspicious period — from Aug. 11 to Sept. 9 — helped lift new car sales, but local automakers were constrained by product transitions

By Chen Cheng-hui  /  Staff reporter

New car sales last month rose 13.6 percent from June and 4 percent from a year earlier to 43,056 units as consumer purchases picked up ahead of Ghost Month, according to data compiled by the Directorate-General of Highways’ local motor vehicles offices.

Ghost Month, the seventh month of the lunar calendar, starts on Saturday next week and runs through Sept. 9 this year. It is generally considered an inauspicious time to purchase new cars or homes.

The increase in vehicle sales also reflected car dealers’ intensive promotion campaigns, the Chinese-language Apple Daily reported on Wednesday, citing Hotai Motor Co (和泰汽車) spokesman Simon Liu (劉松山).

Overall, new car sales in the first seven months of this year rose 2.6 percent year-on-year to 265,250 units, the data released earlier this week showed.

Hotai, which distributes Toyota and Lexus vehicles in Taiwan, reported sales of 13,733 units, up 30.1 percent from last month and 11.4 percent from a year earlier.

Online auto information Web site U-Car attributed the increase to the revamped models of the popular Toyota Altis and Vios sedan, as well as the Yaris subcompact and RAV4 compact sport utility vehicle (SUV).

Despite leading the local market with a 28.7 percent share, Hotai saw total sales in the first seven months of the year increase a mere 0.7 percent year-on-year to 76,047 units.

This year, sales by Hotai, as well as by other local automakers such as Yulon Nissan Motor Co (裕隆日產) and China Motor Corp (中華汽車), were capped by product transitions, while their foreign peers benefited from a steady launch of new models, which boosted sales of imported cars, U-Car said.

Yulon Nissan, which sells Nissan and Infiniti cars, reported that sales decreased 24.5 percent monthly and 40.8 percent annually to 2,601 vehicles last month.

Sales in the first seven months fell 19.2 percent year-on-year to 21,499 units, the data showed.

China Motor, which distributes Mitsubishi sedans and its own CMC-brand commercial vehicles, saw sales increase 18.8 percent month-on-month and 4.6 percent year-on-year to 5,009 units last month.

Sales in the first seven months rose 1.7 percent from a year earlier to 30,565 units, the data showed.

However, thanks to a steady interest in locally made CR-Vs and HR-V SUVs, Honda Taiwan Co (台灣本田) last month saw its sales increase 7.3 percent monthly and 11.6 percent annually to 3,973 units, while sales in the first seven months rose 30.4 percent to 24,505 units, the data showed.

Imported brands — including Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, Audi, BMW, Volkswagen and Mazda — last month saw combined sales growth of 14.5 percent monthly and 17 percent annually to 19,110 units.

Aggregate sales in the first seven months rose 11.8 percent to 115,611 units from a year earlier.

The overall market share of imported brands hit 43.6 percent in the first seven months, edging up from 43.4 percent in the first six months, the data showed.

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