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Yulon Motor plans to open production base in Philippines

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Leading Taiwanese automaker Yulon Motor Co. (裕隆汽車) said Thursday that it is planning to set up a production base in the Philippines to roll out its Luxgen models in the Southeast Asian country.

In an annual general meeting, Yulon Chairman Kenneth Yen (嚴凱泰) told shareholders that his company will use the Philippine market as a spring board to help wholly owned subsidiary Luxgen Motor Co. (納智捷) enter other markets in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bloc.

The Philippines plant will be the next step in Yulon's efforts to penetrate the car market there after it raised its stake in Nissan Philippines Inc. last year.

Since Yulon launched the Luxgen brand five years ago, Luxgen Motor has worked to increase market share of its cars at home and abroad and has already expanded into several markets, including China and Russia.

Yulon President Yao Chen-hsiang (姚振祥) said that the Luxgen U6 Turbo crossover, launched in China early this month, has received a warm welcome with more than 8,000 orders.

Yao said Luxgen Motor expects to sell 45,000 units in the China market and 15,000 in Taiwan this year.

He said the 45,000 units sold by Luxgen in China are expected to help Yulon raise its revenue by no less than 7.25 billion Chinese yuan (US$1.17 billion) to about NT$35 billion for 2014.

The executive has been upbeat about the car market in Taiwan as the local economy is staging a rebound. He said that with car vendors gearing up to launch new models, sales in Taiwan could range between 400,000 units and 420,000 units this year, up from 378,000 units recorded in 2013.

At the shareholder meeting, a Yulon proposal to issue NT$0.7 per share in cash dividend for 2013 was approved. In 2013, the car maker posted NT$1.62 in earnings per share, compared with NT$2.03 in EPS recorded in 2012.

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