Taipei, Sept. 8 (CNA) With the Ghost Month on the lunar calendar affecting buying interest, Taiwan's car sales in August fell almost 40 percent from a month earlier, according to statistics compiled by transportation authorities.
The data showed 26,035 vehicles were sold in Taiwan in August, down 39.5 percent from a month earlier and also down 28.8 percent from a year earlier.
In Taiwan, consumers tend not to buy big-ticket items like cars and homes during Ghost Month -- the seventh month on the lunar calendar -- to avoid bad luck.
This year's Ghost Month kicked off on Aug. 11 and will run through Sept. 9.
Analysts said since Ghost Month is a typically slow season for the local retail market, they were not surprised that car sales have been affected.
They added that the big year-on-year drop in sales reflected a relatively high comparison base over the same period last year, because last year's Ghost Month occurred later in the year, between Aug. 22 and Sept. 19 of 2017.
In terms of the first eight months of this year, car sales in Taiwan totaled 291,285 units, down 1.3 percent from a year earlier, the data showed.
According to the data, although Hotai Motor Co., the local sales agent for Japan's Toyota Motor Corp., retained the title as the largest car vendor in Taiwan in August, it saw its sales falling more than 50 percent from a month earlier due to the Ghost month effects.
In August, Hotai Motor sold 6,356 cars, down 53.7 percent from July, and also down 46.5 percent from a year earlier, making it the most serious victim among Taiwanese car vendors during Ghost Month. Hotai Motor took a 24.4 percent share in the local car market, the data showed.
China Motor Corp., which markets cars under the Mitsubishi marque, came in second by taking a 12.5 percent share in August after selling 3,262 units, down 34.9 percent from a month earlier and also down 19.6 percent from a year earlier.
The smaller decline suffered by China Motor came after the vendor benefited from a delivery of commercial vehicles to Chunghwa Post Co., while its dealers tried hard to lower van inventories ahead of the launch of a new version of Veryca in the fourth quarter, analysts said.
Mazda and Mercedes Benz came in third and fourth in August after selling 1,866 units and 1,754 units, respectively, to grasp a 7.2 percent share and a 6.74 percent share in August. The two imported car vendors even fended off headwinds in the Ghost Month to outperform Yulon Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Taiwan, two strong Taiwanese competitors.
Yulon Nissan Motor, which sells models under the Nissan brand, sold 1,633 units to take a 6.3 percent share and the fifth spot in August, while Honda Taiwan ranked sixth place after selling 1,596 units to hold a 6.1 percent share, the data showed.
Since local car brands suffered the steepest decline in sales in August, their foreign counterparts accounted for 50.5 percent of total sales in the month, the first time they took over half the market in more than a decade, analysts said.
They added that Taiwanese vendors, including Hotai Motor, China Motor and Honda Taiwan, are planning to launch new models soon in a bid to attract customers back to the market after Ghost Month.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel