New vehicle sales in Taiwan fell 13% to 35,822 units in September 2022 from 41,133 units in the same month of last year, according to registration data compiled by the Directorate of Highways.

The market last month came up against some strong year earlier numbers while the local industry also blamed the decline on continued supply chain bottlenecks. Despite successive interest rate hikes this year designed to head off rising inflation, the economy expanded 3% year on year in the second quarter with private consumption accelerating to 2.9%, helped by an easing of Covid restrictions.

Total vehicle sales in the first nine months of the year were down 7% at 311,581 units from 334,152 a year earlier, with domestic sales just slightly lower at 176,931 units while sales of imported vehicles fell 13% to 134,650 units.

Toyota sales were slightly higher at 91,970 units year to date, supported by strong demand for its locally assembled Corolla Cross hybrid which is now the country’s best selling vehicle model. The company launched its new battery-powered bZ4X SUV in May which it imports from Japan, saying at the time it expected overall electric vehicle (EV) sales in the country to double to 13,000 units in 2022.

Honda nine month sales increased 2% to 20,382 units, underpinned by strong demand for its new CR-V SUV, while Ford sales were down 14% at 18,136 units, Nissan 17,393 units (-15%); China Motor 16,974 units (-5%); and Mercedes-Benz 16,973 units (-25%).

Toyota-Lexus distributor Hotai Motor expects the overall market to decline 6.5% to 430,000 units this year, with Q4 sales still affected by lingering supply chain shortages.

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Yulon Motor’s Luxgen division in August began taking orders for a new battery-powered SUV model based on Hon Hai Precision’s MIH open platform, with deliveries scheduled to begin in the second half of 2023.