Car sales drop as potential buyers expect prices to fall

TAIWAN ON DISPLAY::The Taiwan External Trade Development Council said four trade shows in Taipei next month would showcase the nation’s strengths

By Camaron Kao  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

Tue, Apr 02, 2013 - Page 13

Domestic car sales dropped 16.7 percent to 27,472 units last month from 32,980 units a year ago as consumers expect price decreases amid the continued depreciation of the yen, the latest industrial data showed yesterday.

The shrinking car market last month dragged down total car sales in the first quarter of this year to 90,287 units, down 5.7 percent from 95,433 a year ago, according to statistics compiled by the data communication branch of Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信).

Hotai Motor Co (和泰汽車), which distributes Toyota and Lexus models, led the market last month by distributing 7,978 cars. However, its market share declined from 41.5 percent in February to 29 percent last month, data showed.

“We tried to push up [our] sales numbers in February by taking fewer days off than our competitors, and last month we returned to our normal schedule and pace,” Hotai deputy spokesman Yu Shiao-chung (喻曉忠) said by telephone yesterday.

However, customers are waiting for prices to decline as many Japanese car distributors have been asked to lower their prices by the government, making sales slightly lower than Hotai expected, Yu said.

Yu expected the market in the second half of this year to be better than last year because of more new car launches and promotions.

For the whole of this year, Hotai forecast that total sales in Taiwan will be 370,000 units, slightly better than the 365,871 recorded last year, he added.

China Motor Corp (CMC, 中華汽車), the local manufacturer of Mitsubishi cars, sold 3,749 vehicles last month and had a market share of 13.6 percent, while Nissan and Infiniti car distributor Yulon Nissan Motor Co (裕隆日產) sold 3,270 cars last month and had a market share of 11.9 percent.

In related news, four trade shows for motor vehicles and auto parts in Taipei next month will showcase Taiwan’s strengths in information and communications technology, and its advances in electric vehicle development, the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA, 外貿協會) said yesterday.

The Taipei International Auto Parts and Accessories Show and the Taipei International Automobile Electronics Show are to be combined for the first time with the Taiwan International Motorcycle Show and the Taiwan International Electric Vehicle Show.

“The four-in-one motoring hub will not only serve as a great opportunity to boost exports for local manufacturers, but also provide a one-stop shopping service for visitors,” TAITRA president and CEO Chao Yuen-chuan (趙永全) said.

About 1,350 domestic and international exhibitors are to showcase products ranging from fuel-saving tires and on-board diagnostic gadgets to the latest electric cars and scooters, he said.

“Electric vehicles will take more market share worldwide over the next decade,” Chao said, predicting that electric vehicles would have a 9 percent share of the global automotive market in 2015, up from 1.5 percent in 2010.

By 2020, 21 million of an estimated 130 million new vehicles sold, or 16 percent, would be run on electric power, he said.

More than 60,000 visitors are expected to attend the fair, which is expected to generate more than NT$100 million (US$3.35 million) in business, the organizers said.

The fair is to be held between Wednesday and Saturday next week at the Taipei World Trade Center and at the Taipei World Trade Center’s Nangang Exhibition Hall.