Taiwan's new vehicle market shrugged off the growing global threat of the COVID19 coronavirus in February 2020 with sales jumping by over 39% to 27,350 units from a depressed 19,640 units a year earlier, according to local reports citing registration data compiled by the Directorate of Highways.

This year's Lunar New Year holidays fell in January compared with February last year meaning there were many more working days last month than a year ago.

Having declined by over 10% in January, a strong year on year market rebound had been widely expected in February.

Local industry analysts pointed out the coronavirus pandemic has had a very negative effect on consumer behaviour in Taiwan, however, resulting in a sharp decline in visits to dealers.

The market declined by close to 31% month on month in February and weaker sales were forecast for the next few months at least.

Component shortages are also expected to become an issue for local vehicle assemblers in March, leading to possible factory stoppages.

Toyota-Lexus distributor Hotai Motor reported a more than 21% year on year sales increase to 20,026 units in February thanks to strong demand for the RAV4 compact SUV and for upmarket Lexus models.

China Motor saw its sales fall by close to 14% to 6,925 units and Yulon Nissan's sales were down by almost 6% to 5,377 units while Ford's sales jumped by almost 40% to 3,293 units on strong sales of the Focus.

Total vehicle sales in the first two months of 2020 were up by 4.7% at 66,767 units from 63,783 units a year earlier, with imports accounting for around 50% of volume.