Thu, Jan 02, 2014 - Page 13 News List

Growth in car sales boosts Yulon shares

By Camaron Kao  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

Crowds throng the 2014 Taipei International Auto Show’s opening day on Saturday last week. The show at the Taipei World Trade Center Exhibition Hall I closes on Sunday.

Photo: CNA

Shares of Yulon Nissan Motor Co (裕隆日產), the local distributor of Nissan and Infiniti cars, closed out last year with a stellar 87.56 percent increase at NT$422, thanks to a big growth in sales in Taiwan and China.

The company sold 43,236 cars in Taiwan from January to Dec. 20 last year, up 7.2 percent from the same period in 2012, while sales at its Chinese subsidiary, Dongfeng Nissan Passenger Vehicle Co (東風日產), are forecast to hit 930,000 units for last year, from 780,000 units the year before, the company said.

Yulon Nissan, the second-largest car distributor in the nation, with a 12 percent market share, expects to sell 5,000 cars this month, including 2,000 Super Sentra sedans, as the industry enters peak season.

“Customers like to purchase cars before the Lunar New Year holiday,” Yulon Nissan vice president Leman Lee (李振成) said on Friday last week.

Orders for the Super Sentra had reached 5,500 units as of last Friday, but the company will only be able to deliver about 4,500 cars before the Lunar New Year holiday because of capacity constraints, Lee said.

The order backlog for the new model is unlikely to be cleared until the end of this month, the company said.

Lee expects total car sales in Taiwan to increase 2.7 percent to 375,000 units this year from an estimated 365,000 units last year as the nation’s economy improves.

He is less optimistic than Yulon Motor Co (裕隆) chairman Kenneth Yen (嚴凱泰), who — on the sidelines of the Taipei International Auto Show on Monday — forecast that total car sales could reach 400,000 units this year, up from the 379,000 predicted for last year.

Yen is not the only auto industry insider with a rosy outlook for this year. Hotai Motor Co (和泰) president Justin Su (蘇純興) recently predicted that Hotai would sell at least 400,000 cars this year.

Yulon manufactures Luxgen and Nissan-brand cars in Taiwan, while Hotai sells Toyota and Lexus models.

Between Jan. 1 and Dec. 27 last year, car sales totaled 372,000 units, topping the 365,871 units sold in 2012, but still down from a high of 378,291 in 2011, according to the latest industrial data.

With the Taipei auto show stirring up interest, car sales for last year could hit 379,000 units, an upward revision from analysts’ earlier estimates of 377,000 units.

Meanwhile, Hotai said it also has an issue with a backlog of orders for its new Corona Altis.

The nation’s largest car distributor said it has received more than 14,000 orders for Altis cars since launching the model on Oct. 7, but it could only distribute a little more than 4,000 this month.

Hotai shares finished last year with an increase of 57.94 percent to NT$368, while Yulon Motor Co shares ended down 1.82 percent at NT$54.

China Motor saw its shares rise over the year, gaining 5.87 percent to end the year at NT$28.85.

Overall, automobile sector shares had staged an average increase of 48.25 percent last year, compared with the TAIEX’s 11.85 percent rise.

“Investors are buying on hope that the local auto market will see sales rise in 2014 after Yen’s comments,” Hua Nan Securities Investment Management Co (華南永昌投顧) analyst Henry Miao (苗台生) said.

Judging from the higher sales last year, Miao said Hotai and Yulon Nissan, the market’s most expensive auto stocks, could post NT$14.8 and NT$21.6 in earnings per share last year respectively, compared with the NT$13.76 and NT$16.43 recorded in 2012.

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