Taipei, Car sales in Taiwan were the highest in 15 years in 2020, which vendors attributed to travel restrictions amid COVID-19 that led consumers to take trips at home and increased demand for vehicles.
Government subsidies to encourage replacements of old cars and motorcycles to promote cleaner air were set to end on Jan. 7, leading consumers to take advantage of them before they expired, according to the vendors.
Among the consumer segments boosting demand were Taiwanese businesspeople and Taiwanese students living overseas who returned home to avoid COVID-19 infections and bought a car to get around, the vendors said.
Car sales in Taiwan rose 4 percent from a year earlier to 457,435 units in 2020, the second highest total in history behind only the 514,626 units sold in 2005, according to government figures released Monday.
In Taiwan, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications calculates a sale at the time a car is delivered and given a license plate, rather than when a sales contract is signed.
The industry’s gains bucked the worldwide downtrend for an industry hurt by COVID-19. Global car sales fell an estimated 10 percent in 2020, with sales in China and the United States estimated to fall 5 percent and 15 percent, respectively.
Hotai Motor Co., the local sales agent for Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp., took the top spot in Taiwan’s car market for the 19th consecutive year after selling 123,516 cars, up 3.3 percent from a year earlier. It had a 27 percent market share.
Car vendors said Hotai benefited from strong demand for the RAV4, a sporty utility vehicle (SUV) model, which replaced Toyota’s previous top seller the Altis passenger car model in Taiwan in 2019.
Yulon Nissan Motor Co., which sells models under the Nissan brand, came in second with a 7.7 percent market share after selling 35,177 cars in 2020, down 1.7 percent from a year earlier.
Coming in third, Honda Taiwan sold 30,426 cars, down 7.9 percent from a year earlier, to account for 6.7 percent of Taiwan’s total car sales, ahead of Mercedes Benz (29,654 units or 6.5 percent market share), and Ford (28,884 units or 38.9 percent).
Ford had the highest year-on-year growth among the top 10 car brands in Taiwan on the back of strong demand for its Kuga SUV model and Focus passenger car model, the statistics showed.
Car vendors said the government incentives, which end later this week and buying ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, which will fall in mid-February, could push up car sales in January by 24 percent from a year earlier to more than 49,000 units.
It is not clear whether the government will extend its subsidy program this year.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel