Wed, Sep 18, 2013 - Page 13 News List

Luxgen hopes to dethrone Lexus, lead luxury SUVs

By Camaron Kao  /  Staff reporter

Luxgen Motor Co Ltd (納智捷), a automobile brand operated by Taiwan-based manufacturer Yulon Motor Co (裕隆汽車), yesterday launched an upgraded sport utility vehicle (SUV) with the aim of becoming the local market leader for luxury SUVs.

“Luxgen is targeting consumers who intend to upgrade their compact SUVs for a more expensive model at a reasonable price,” Luxgen senior vice president Vincent Tsao (曹中庸) told reporters.

The new Luxgen U7 turbo, an upgraded version of the Luxgen 7 SUV, carries a price tag between NT$940,000 (US$31,730) and NT$1.2 million, lower than the about NT$2 million for other luxury SUVs.

A compact SUV costs about NT$800,000, Tsao said.

Luxgen is taking on industry leader Lexus.

Hotai Co (和泰汽車), which distributes cars for Toyota and Lexus in Taiwan, sells about 250 Lexus luxury SUVs a month, accounting for 16 percent of their total monthly sales in Taiwan, which hover at about 1,500 units, Luxgen said.

Luxgen is planning to sell 200 U7 turbo SUVs a month in the early phase and to gradually increase sales to about 300 a month, Tsao said.

Tsao said the company hoped to sell 14,000 cars this year in Taiwan, but Luxgen’s sales have lagged behind this expectation.

“It is difficult to run a new brand,” Tsao said.

IBTS Investment Consulting Co (台灣工銀投顧) analyst Kent Chen (陳國民) forecast that the company could sell about 10,000 cars in Taiwan this year, up 13.62 percent from the 8,801 units sold a year ago, according to an Aug. 30 report.

Asked about the company’s progress in Russia, a market Luxgen entered last month, company president Hu Kai-chang (胡開昌) said Luxgen planned to increase its number of Russian dealers to 20 at the end of this year, from the eight it operates now.

The company aims to sell 500 cars a month in Russia, where total automobile sales amount to about 3 million a year, Luxgen said.

Yulon formed a partnership with Derways Automobile Co to make Luxgen cars in Russia because of high tariffs on imported cars.

Russia’s tariff on imported cars is about 22 percent, while the tariff on car parts is only about 8 percent, Hu said.

Hu added that the tariff on imported cars is only about 5 percent in most Middle Eastern countries.

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