Car market affected by ‘ghost month’; sales down nearly 50%

The local car market has felt the pinch of the impact resulting from "ghost month" and has witnessed sales falling almost 50 percent month-on-month in August, according to market statistics.

Ghost month, the seventh month of the Lunar calendar, started Aug. 3 and ran through Aug. 31 this year. Taiwanese consumers tend not to buy big-ticket items, such as cars and homes, during the period, in a superstitious bid to shun bad luck.

The statistics show that a total of 22,874 cars were sold in August in Taiwan, down 49.3 percent from a month earlier and also down 0.2 percent from a year earlier.

Local car vendors did not stage any significant promotional efforts in August, as they expected the period would be a slow season for the car industry, market analysts said.

Therefore, major Taiwan-made cars under brands such as Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Honda, Luxgen and Ford suffered a plunge in sales in August, the analysts said. Among them, Toyotas and Hondas even dived 58.6 percent and 55.4 percent in sales volume, respectively.

However, some imported cars, such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW, appeared resilient compared with their local counterparts, as they continued with aggressive promotion campaigns in August, making them among the top five car vendors in Taiwan in the month, analysts said.

The sales data show that Mercedes-Benz sold 1,700 cars in August, down 20.2 percent from a month earlier but up 23.5 percent from a year earlier, to grasp a 7.4 percent share in the local car market.

For its part, BMW sold 1,172 cars in August, down 16.9 percent from a month earlier and down 11.3 percent from a year earlier, winning a 5.1 percent share in the local auto market, the statistics indicate.

In the first eight months of this year, a total of 290,189 cars were sold in Taiwan, up 1.1 percent from a year earlier, according to the data.

After the ghost month period, analysts said, local car vendors will resume large-sized promotion campaigns in September and will launch new models in a bid to stir up buying interest. They said that sales could bounce back to 31,000 units or even higher in September.

The market expects that sales for 2016 will reach 420,000 units, little changed from 2015.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel