Yulon hopes Luxgen 5 boosts sales

By Kevin Chen  /  Staff Reporter

Thu, Dec 08, 2011 - Page 11

Taiwan’s auto sales are expected to increase by nearly 13 percent to 370,000 vehicles this year, with next year’s sales remaining flat because of the economic slowdown, Yulon Motor Co (裕隆汽車) said yesterday.

The domestic auto industry’s recovery from the 2008 global financial crisis has steadily strengthened in the past few years, with sales rising 11.27 percent year-on-year to 327,615 vehicles last year following an increase of 28.3 percent to 294,423 vehicles in 2009, government data showed.

However, whether next year’s sales get stuck in low gear is largely dependent on the growth of the economy against the backdrop of the presidential and legislative elections next month, the debt crisis in Europe and economic growth in the US and China, said Kenneth Yen (嚴凱泰), chairman of Yulon Group (裕隆集團).

Yen made the remarks on the sidelines of a ceremony to mark the launch of Yulon’s first Luxgen-brand sedan model, Luxgen 5.

“Car sales for next year will stay at between 360,000 units and 370,000 units,” local cable TV network UBN quoted Yen as saying.

Yulon, which assembles vehicles for Nissan Motor Co of -Japan and makes the self-developed Luxgen brand sports utility vehicle (SUV), enjoys a market share of 11.6 percent in Taiwan, second only to Hotai Motor Co’s (和泰汽車) market share of 40.1 percent. Hotai distributes both Toyota and Lexus cars in Taiwan.

The new Luxgen 5 sedan comes with a 1.8 liter or 2 liter engine. According to Yulon, the 1.8 liter model is priced from NT$690,000 to NT$800,000 (US$22,900 to US$26,500), while the 2 liter model sells from NT$770,000 to NT$910,000.

The company hopes the new Luxgen 5 can help it secure a 10 percent share in the local sedan market, or about 20,000 units a year.

Based on the exterior design and accessories the Luxgen 5 offers, it is “highly competitive,” Dave Chiou (邱義昇), who tracks the manufacturing industry for Citigroup Global Markets, said in a note yesterday, adding that the car’s competitors in Taiwan would be the Toyota Altis (Corolla), the Ford Focus and the Honda Civic.

Yulon has been selling the Luxgen--brand SUV in China since September through its joint venture with China’s Dongfeng Motor Co (東風汽車).

Yulon said it would start selling the Luxgen 5 sedan in China by the end of next year.