Car sales crash as Ghost Month effect takes hold

RETURN TO FORM::After Ghost Month, auto vendors tend to resume large-scale promotional campaigns and launch new models in a bid to stir up buying interest

Staff writer, with CNA

Mon, Sep 05, 2016 - Page 16

The nation’s auto sales suffered a Ghost Month effect, with new car sales last month falling almost 50 percent from July, market statistics showed.

Ghost Month, the seventh month of the lunar calendar, this year started on Aug. 3 and ran through Wednesday last week.

Taiwanese consumers tend to avoid buying big-ticket items, such as cars and homes, during the period.

Based on data compiled by local motor vehicle offices, 22,874 cars were sold last month in Taiwan, down 49.3 percent from a month earlier and 0.2 percent from the same period last year.

Major brands such as Toyota Motor Corp, Nissan Motor Co, Mitsubishi Motors Corp, Honda Motor Co, Luxgen Motor Co Ltd (納智捷) and Ford Motor Co saw a plunge in sales last month, with sales of Toyotas and Hondas diving 58.6 percent and 55.4 respectively from July, the data showed.

However, Mercedes-Benz and BMW AP appeared relatively resilient, with Mercedes-Benz sales last month falling 20.2 percent from July, while BMW’s fell 16.9 percent over the same period, the data showed.

In the first eight months of this year, a total of 290,189 new cars were sold in Taiwan, up 1.1 percent from the same period last year, the data showed.

After Ghost Month, the nation’s auto vendors tend to resume large-scale promotional campaigns and launch new models in a bid to stir up buying interest, analysts said.

Therefore, sales could bounce back to 31,000 units or even higher this month, with sales for the whole year likely to stay flat from last year’s 420,000 units, the analysts said.