Hotai’s sales of hybrid cars surged 30% in first quarter

By Camaron Kao  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Apr 20, 2013 - Page 14

Hotai Motor Co (和泰汽車) yesterday said it sold 4,285 hybrid cars from January through last month, up 30.04 percent from 3,295 a year earlier, because of strong demand for the Toyota Camry hybrid.

However, the figure was down 6.58 percent from 4,587 units a quarter ago because of the seasonal slowdown after the Lunar New Year holiday, said Hotai, the nation’s largest automobile retailer and distributor of Toyota and Lexus cars.

Overall, Hotai sold 30,751 cars in the first three months, with hybrid cars accounting for 13.93 percent of the total.

“Hybrid technology is more mature now,” a Hotai official who declined to be named said by phone.

Aside from the environmental factor, Taiwanese customers took advantage of a 50 percent deduction in the commodity tax to purchase hybrids, he said.

Sales of hybrid cars surged in Taiwan after Hotai introduced the Camry hybrid in February last year, the official said.

For instance, Hotai sold just 4,678 hybrids in 2011, but saw the number surge to 17,069 last year, with 8,772 units being Camry hybrids.

Hybrid cars accounted for 13.79 percent of Hotai’s total car sales last year, up from 3.9 percent in 2011, according to the company.

Its parent company, Toyota Motor Corp, sold more than 1.2 million hybrids worldwide last year, including the Prius, with hybrids accounting for 14 percent of its total car sales last year.

However, the official said that the sharp growth in sales of hybrids last year was mainly propelled by the launch of the Camry hybrid and that he did not expect another year of explosive growth.

On Wednesday, Toyota announced that as of the end of last month, it had sold more than 5 million hybrids since it started marketing the Prius in 1997.

“Hybrid cars could be a future trend, and Toyota has plans to develop new hybrids targeting the markets in India and Central and South America,” the Hotai official said.