Twenty eight thousand vehicles were sold in July, the highest monthly figure for this year so far, and the second consecutive month in which the number of cars sold has increased, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
Two thousand more cars were sold in July than in June. Compared with the same period last year, 23.4 percent more cars were sold this July.
The seven major car companies in the Taiwan market all saw sales figures increase. Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Honda Taiwan Co., Ltd., Ford Lio Ho Motor Company Co., Ltd. and Mazda Motor Corp. all posted in July their highest monthly sales figures in 18 months.
Most car dealers now feel a sense of optimism. It is widely expected that the number of vehicles sold for the year 2009 as a whole will reach 250,000, eight percent more than in 2008.
Yang Xian-quan, a department chief of Hotai Motor Co., Ltd., noted that the car market in Taiwan experienced a serious downturn in the second half of 2008, which resulted in a relatively low comparison base to measure the market recovery. But he expected the growth in sales to gain momentum as the year advances.
According to tradition, July in the lunar calendar is known as “ghost month,” during which time it is inauspicious to undertake such activities as buying a car. In 2008 ghost month fell in August in the Gregorian calendar, and as a result less than 10,000 vehicles were sold. This year’s ghost month does not begin until August 20, and thus car dealers expect to sell 18,000 vehicles this August. Some even think the figure can rise to more than 20,000, doubling that of last year.
The government’s tax policy may have played a role in spurring sales. According to this policy, which has been in effect since the start of 2009, car buyers receive an NT$ 30,000 (US$915) government subsidy for every car they buy.
Liu Tsung-xin, chief executive officer of Mazda Taiwan, and Chen Kuo-rong, general manager of Yulon Motor Co., both said the government’s subsidy policy have helped the market and should be continued.
Liu noted that as a result of the policy not only has government revenue not decreased, it has actually increased. Such a “wise” policy should not be discontinued at the end of the year, Liu said.