TAIPEI (CNA) — Car sales in Taiwan dropped more than 2 percent in 2018 from a year earlier, amid uncertainty over economic growth in the second half of the year and trade frictions between the United States and China, according to government statistics.
The data showed car sales in Taiwan totaled 435,135 units in 2018, down 2.1 percent from a year earlier, although sales of imported cars increased by an annual 6.3 percent to 197,281 units, accounting for 45.3 percent of the total.
Market analysts said the local car market was propped up to some extent by government subsidies for the purchase of clean energy vehicles.
For the month of December 2018, car sales in Taiwan rose 16.6 percent from a month earlier to 41,993 units amid strong promotion by sellers, but the figure was 0.5 percent lower than a year earlier, according to the statistics.
Hotai Motor Co., the local sales agent for Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp., remained the top car vendor in Taiwan in 2018, with sales of 120,766 units and a 27.8 percent market share, the data showed.
However, the company recorded a 5.7 percent annual drop in sales due to a halt in production of certain models, according to the data.
China Motor Corp., which markets cars under the Mitsubishi brand, was second with an 11.3 percent market share and sales of 49,204 units, an annual increase of 2.0 percent.
In third place was Honda, which had an 8.9 percent share and sales of 38,822, up 13.9 percent from a year earlier.
Yulon Nissan Motor Co., which sells models under the Nissan brand, was in fourth place, selling 36,708 cars, which accounted for 8.4 percent of the total sales in Taiwan.
In a strong showing by imported models, Mercedes Benz took the fifth spot, registering a 4.1 percent annual increase in sales to 29,172 units and 6.7 percent share of the local market.
It was followed by Mazda with sales of 23,724 units and a 5.5 percent share, Ford with sales of 16,701 units and a 3.8 percent market share, and Volkswagen and BMW, each with a 3.7 percent share of the market.
Hyundai, the 10th largest car vendor on the local market, registered a 2.7 percent share.
By Tien Yu-pin and Frances Huang