Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New Taiwanese Automotive Company: Lexgen

On my trip to Taiwan last December, I saw a new vehicle on the road. Thinking it was a rebadge, I did not pay much attention to it. However, on subsequent visits to a shopping mall, I saw the vehicle again on display. On further inspection it was a new company, a local Taiwanese product. Taiwan, under Yulon, had tried to make their own automobile before, but it failed pretty badly. Yulon had prior experiences assembling Nissan, Chrysler, GM, Mercedes Benz, Mitsubishi vehicles and corroborated effort with Nissan in research and development.

Unlike Proton from Malaysia which received local government support, Yulon did not had such luxuries and had to stop making their own designed vehicles. Instead, they remained as a major assembler of vehicles for other established brands like Nissan, Chrysler, GM, Mercedes Benz, Mitsubishi. Apart from assembly, they import Infiniti, Renault, and higher end Nissan into Taiwan. 

After much more experience in manufacturing cars for established makes, Yulon decided to venture into self-developed vehicles using a new company called Luxgen. The first vehicle debuted in August 2009, the Luxgen7 MPV. It aims to be the Lexus of Taiwan. The cars are loaded with modern day technology, such as GPS, HTC powered voice controlled system, onboard windows CE computer, electronic stability system, and 3.5G mobile internet connection. The newer MPV even has night vision aid system, 360 degree surround imaging system (just like the one found on the Porsche Panamera!), blind spot monitoring system, and lane departure warning system (it will give a warning if you are too near to the lane divider lines WITHOUT giving signal !). All these will make any geek have wet dreams!Of course reverse camera is standard.

So far, Lexgen has sold quite a number of their vehicles in 2 years time, as I see it quite often there. Furthermore, the car is not cheap; the SUV retails for  NT$798,000 up to NT$1,068,000, around RM80k to RM107k (USD 27,000 to 36,000). For the same price, one could purchase a Toyota Camry brand new (Retails for NT$82.9k for 2.0E, with 2.4G costing NT$104k) 

Snapped a two pictures of the vehicle's rear in person:

Luxgen7 MPV Specifications
Luxgen mpv 3.jpg
Body style(s)Minivan
LayoutFront Engine, Front Wheel Drive
PlatformL7 platform
Engine(s)2.2L Turbocharged I-4
Transmission(s)5 speed Manumatic transmission
Length4,845 mm (190.7 in)
Width1,876 mm (73.9 in)
Height1,768 mm (69.6 in)
Curb weight1,830–1,875 kg (4,000–4,130 lb)
RelatedLuxgen7 SUV

However what really caught my eye was the Luxgen MPV. Below all that technological marvel, the MPV has a pretty powerful engine: 2.2L MEFI turbocharged engine using a GARETT supercharger, pumping out 175HP and 275Nm of torque, achieved from 2400rpm onward up till 4000rpm. Harnessing all this power is a 10 mode intelligent 5 speed semi auto transmission that is able to adapt to a driver's driving habits. The chassis is designed by European chassis specialists (Magna Austria and Prodrive UK), with a progressive suspension that will harden when applied to greater pressure. There is also a 3 mode 4WD system that can be made to automatically determine when to switch between 2 wheel drive or 4 wheel drive, lock to 4 wheel drive, or 2 wheel drive. One more point: it does look a bit similar to a Porsche Cayenne, and for a fraction of the price! Retails for around NT$90k to NT$115k. 

Doesn't it look similar (cuter, less agressive version)? 

Body style(s)SUV
LayoutFront Engine, Front Wheel Drive,4WD
PlatformL7 platform
Engine(s)2.2L Turbocharged I-4
Transmission(s)5 speed Manumatic transmission
Length4,800 mm (189.0 in)
Width1,930 mm (76.0 in)
Height1,720–1,760 mm (67.7–69.3 in)
Curb weight1,860–1,960 kg (4,100–4,300 lb)
RelatedLuxgen7 MPV

The company profile:

LUXGEN Motor Co., Ltd.

HeadquartersSanyi, MiaoliTaiwan
Key peopleCEOKenneth Yen
General ManagerK.C. Hu

Slogan: "Think Ahead"