China Motor Corp (中華汽車), which distributes Mitsubishi sedans and own-brand CMC commercial vehicles, expects the commercial car segment to shrink 4 percent to 10,000 units this year in Taiwan amid economic uncertainty.
“Sales of commercial vehicles are highly sensitive to economic conditions,” China Motor president Liu Hsin-tai (劉興臺) said at a press conference yesterday. “In 2008, many businesses sold their commercial vehicles because of dire economic prospects.”
Last year, local sales of commercial vehicles weighing less than 3.5 tonnes totaled 10,400 units, accounting for 90 percent of total sales.
In addition to a gloomy economy, China Motor is undergoing a transition because the company plans to meet a higher environmental standards for its commercial cars, which will increase its production costs and car prices.
The new generation of the Mitsubishi Fuso Canter, launched yesterday, is about 22 percent more expensive than its previous version, the company said.
Liu said the company aims to acquire 70 percent of the market for light-weight commercial vehicles this year.
From January through last month, the company sold 3,000 units of old version Mitsubishi Fuso Canter. The company hopes to sell between 500 and 600 new Mitsubishi Fuso Canters a month this year, Liu said.
Last year, China Motor distributed 7,300 units of the old version of the Mitsubishi Fuso Canter, accounting for 70.19 percent of the commercial car market.
For sedans, Liu said the market this year might not be as good as last year, after the latest industry data showed a 4.2 percent year-on-year decline for car sales to 119.131 units in the first four months.
Liu forecast total car sales would be 365,000 this year, down slightly from 365,871 last year.
The company reported revenue of NT$10.06 billion (US$340 million) last quarter, down 20.61 percent from a year ago and up 27.66 percent from the previous quarter, according to a company filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange.