Taiwan’s new vehicle market fell by almost 5% to 33,148 units in August 2021 from 34,846 units a year earlier, according to registration data compiled by Taiwan’s Directorate of Highways.

Last month’s moderate decline came despite this year’s annual ‘ghost’ month falling on 8 August. According to Buddhist and Taoist tradition it brings bad luck to anyone buying large items in this 30-day period and is usually the low point in the country’s annual sales calendar.

The government downgraded the severity of its coronavirus alert at the end of July, which provided some support to the market last month, after the vaccine roll-out was stepped up and the recent outbreak was gradually brought under control. The shortage of semiconductors continued to hold back vehicle deliveries, however.

The country’s economy rebounded by 7.5% year-on-year in the second quarter after shrinking by 12% in the same period of last year, driven by a 37% surge in exports – with strong international trade growth continuing in July.

In the first eight months of the year, the vehicle market was still 1.5% higher at 293,019 units from 288,656 in the same period of last year.

Domestic sales drove the market forward in this period with volume rising by 6.2% to 156,085 units helped by strong demand for locally-made models such as the Toyota Corolla Cross, the Ford Focus and Ford Kuga. Sales of imported vehicles fell by 3.3% to 136,934 units.

Toyota sales fell by 3% to 79,818 units year-to-date while Mercedes-Benz sales increased by over 6.8% to 19,819, Ford 18,444 (+12.7%), Nissan 18,072 (-14.3%), Honda 17,470 (-3.6%) and China Motor 15,834 (+1.54%).