Hotai Motor Co. set to release Taiwan’s first self-made hybrid car


TAIPEI — Hotai Motor Co., the Taiwanese sales agent for Japan’s Toyota Motors, is scheduled to release Taiwan’s first self-made hybrid car Feb. 16, demonstrating the country’s domestic production ability, the company’s president said yesterday. Toyota, the world’s No. 1 automaker, is already making hybrids in five other countries outside of Japan, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Thailand and China. The Toyota Camry Hybrid model will make Taiwan the sixth foreign country in which the Japanese company is producing hybrids.

“Although last year we encountered the devastating tsunami that hit northeastern Japan March 11 and suffered from the flooding in Thailand in the second half of the year, we still managed to have outstanding performance in 2011,” said Justin Su, president of Hotai Motors.

Hotai said it sold 119,425 cars last year, a record high since 2005, registering an annual growth rate of 17.6 percent, which was even higher than that of total car sales in Taiwan. A total of 378,291 new cars were registered in Taiwan in 2011, up 15.5 percent from the previous year.

Meanwhile, despite the gloomy global economy, the top car seller said it has a bullish outlook on the domestic market in 2012, anticipating demand from the replacement of old vehicles and purchases of energy-saving cars using advanced technology.

“We anticipate a market of 360,000 units in Taiwan this year,” Su predicted.

Hotai will introduce a total of 13 new models to the Taiwanese market in 2012, with six from Toyota and seven from its luxury brand, Lexus, the company said.