Today we interrupt the U.S. North to South series for a quick Photo Snapshot of Taipei in Taiwan, on my way to the Guangzhou Auto Show. At 423.829 registrations over the Full Year 2014, Taiwan is one of the smallest markets in the world to benefit from dedicated models and designs reserved for local car buyers. Its geographical status as an island off the coast of China has a lot to do with this situation. My 10 hour-layover in Taipei enabled me to take the High Speed Rail from the Taoyuan International Airport to the country’s capital city Taipei, home to 4 million inhabitants – out of the 23.5 million the country counts as of 2015. It’s a 20 minutes trip at a peak speed of 250kph.
Once in Taipei, the bias towards taxis is evident: they represent a little less than half the passenger cars streaming the busy streets of the capital. Among them, the Toyota Wish is by far the most popular. In fact, 4 out of every 5 Toyota Wish I spotted during the few hours I was in town was a taxi. The Toyota Corolla follows, 1 in 3 is a taxi – justifying its national sales pole position, ahead of the Toyota Camry.
As far as local manufacturer Luxgen is concerned, it is established in the Taipei traffic, granted, but is by no means dominant. In the limited area I got the opportunity to observe, the M7 Turbo MPV was the most frequent by far, with a few lonely U6 Turbo SUVs also spotted.
But the big surprise is the most frequent non-taxi vehicle in the streets of Taipei: hands down the CMC Veryca mini-truck, in both its van and pickup variants and including a fair amount of 2015 facelifted models. The Veryca was up to #2 overall in October but my observations denoted a long heritage of purchase patterns for the Veryca by most small businesses in the capital. Staying in the light commercial aisle, the Mitsubishi Delica comes at a close second below the Veryca, while the Zinger is also very frequent, as is the first generation Toyota Innova – still not replaced yet in Taiwan!
The VW Transporter is also seen relatively frequently, notably as Ambulance. The Ford Transit is the other Western light commercial vehicle that has been met with strong success in Taipei, including the current generation.
The Taipei (and by extension Taiwan) car landscape offers an interesting mix of ultra-dominant Japanese vehicles, a local manufacturer – Luxgen – slowly but surely imposing itself, and a healthy count of luxury European brands: Volvo is notably very successful, through the V40 and XC60 mainly. Finally, Taipei’s wealth is clearly apparent on the streets: in the space of a few hours I spotted multiple new generations Mercedes S-Class, as well as multiple Porsche Cayenne, Macan and Panamera.
The Full Photo Report (20 pictures) continues below.