New car sales rose 22.7 percent last month from the previous month, but the approaching “Ghost Month” could significantly affect sales, people in the industry said.
The latest industry data compiled by Chunghwa Telecom Co’s (中華電信) data communication branch showed that sales of new cars reached 39,968 units last month, 2.1 percent lower than a year ago.
From January through last month, total car sales were 222,295 units, down 2 percent from a year ago, the data showed.
The seventh month of the lunar year, traditionally known as “Ghost Month,” falls between Aug. 7 and Sept. 4.
“Total car sales this month will be 20,000 units, as people in Taiwan tend not to purchase new cars in the Ghost Month period,” said Eli Huang (黃明顯), director and chief officer of Hotai Motor Co’s (和泰汽車) Toyota & Hino vehicles operations group.
Hotai Motor, which distributes Toyota and Lexus models, continued to be the market leader as of last month, selling 14,255 cars with a market share of 35.7 percent.
The figure grew 29.7 percent on a monthly basis, but was still 8.1 percent lower than a year earlier, data showed.
Over the course of the year Huang forecast total car sales in Taiwan would be around 360,000, with Hotai accounting for 34 percent of the market.
“Promotions and perks offered by auto vendors this year have increased by about 30 percent compared with last year, as the industry is responding to customers’ expectations of falling prices,” he said.
China Motor Corp (中華汽車), the local manufacturer of Mitsubishi cars, sold 4,702 vehicles last month, accounting for 11.8 percent of the market, the data showed.
The sales numbers were down 22 percent from a year ago, but up 25 percent from a month ago.
“Consumer confidence was still low because of the economic condition and customers still took a wait-and-see stance,” said a China Motor official, who declined to be named.
He said overall car sales this year would be the same as a year ago because of the weak economic recovery, while competition in the second half this year will remain stiff.
Nissan and Infiniti car distributor Yulon Nissan Motor Co (裕隆日產) sold 4,532 cars last month for a market share of 11.3 percent, the figures showed.
Yulon Nissan’s sales last month were 11.5 percent higher than the previous year and 23.3 percent higher than a month ago, but Yulon Nissan vice president Leman Lee (李振成) said the market sentiment remained weak.