Taiwan’s auto-parts exports continued growing in 2011, despite overall parts production value dropping about 3.2% from previous year.
Amid globally uncertain economy and sliding sales of new powered two-wheelers (PTWs), Taiwan's production value of transportation vehicles and parts, a category including automobiles, auto parts, powered two-wheelers (PTWs) and electric scooters (e-scooters), dropped 2.6% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) but climbed 0.5% year-on-year (YoY) in the fourth quarter of 2011 to NT$108.59 billion (US$3.62 billion), according to the IEK Industrial Economics & Knowledge Center (IEK)-ITIS (Industry & Technology Intelligence Services) in Taiwan.
The production value of automobiles climbed 1.3% from the previous quarter and 2.3% from a year earlier to NT$50.87 billion (US$1.64 billion) in the fourth quarter of 2011, due to the peak-season effects and recovery of auto-parts supply from Japan. In the fourth quarter, about 94,000 cars were produced in Taiwan for domestic and export sales, up 2.7% QoQ.
Due to decreasing exports, the production value of auto parts in the fourth quarter reached NT$47.31 billion (US$1.58 billion), down 0.4% QoQ and 3.2% YoY.
Sales of new powered two-wheelers (PTWs) in Taiwan declined in the fourth quarter due to high inventory at distributors, driving makers to cut production, with PTW manufacturers producing only about 288,000 units, down 14.3% QoQ, to result in fourth-quarter production declining 24.2% QoQ to NT$10.4 billion (US$347 million), but a 10.1% YoY increase.
Sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in Taiwan have not reached the public, so the statistics for EVs currently relate to electric-scooters, whose production in Taiwan dropped 28.2% QoQ, albeit up 132% YoY, in the fourth quarter to NT$152 million (US$5.1 million), due mainly to the seasonality factors.
Value of Transportation Vehicle Production in Taiwan
Unit: NT$ million
| ||Q410 ||Q111 ||Q211 ||Q311 ||Q411 ||QoQ ||YoY ||2010 ||2011(e) ||2012(f) |
|NT$49.7 B. ||NT$46.8 B. ||NT$39.4 B. ||NT$50.2 B. ||NT$50.9 B. ||1.3% ||2.3% ||NT$165.1 B. ||NT$187.3 B. ||NT$179.8 B. |
|Auto Parts ||NT$48.9 B. ||NT$45.8 B. ||NT$44.7 B. ||NT$47.5 B. ||NT$47.3 B. ||-0.4% ||-3.2% ||NT$175.8 B. ||NT$185.3 B. ||NT$181.6 B. |
|PTWs ||NT$9.5 B. ||NT$10.1 B. ||NT$12.6 B. ||NT$13.7 B. ||NT$10.4 B. ||-24.2% ||10.1% ||NT$41.8 B. ||NT$46.8 B. ||NT$44.9 B. |
|E-scooters ||NT$65 M. ||NT$93.9 M. ||NT$163.6 M. ||NT$212.1 M. ||NT$152 M. ||-28.2% ||132% ||NT$305.6M. ||NT$614.6 M. ||NT$1.1 B. |
|Total ||NT$91.7 B. ||NT$102.6 B. ||NT$96.8 B. ||NT$111.45 B. ||NT$108.59 B. ||-2.6% ||0.5% ||NT$382.7 B. ||NT$419.45 B. ||NT$406.38 B. |
|Source: IEK-ITIS,February 2012. |
In the fourth quarter of 2011, Taiwan's Automotive Research & Testing Center (ARTC), the largest transportation equipment testing and R&D body in Taiwan, inaugurated a full-spec EV charging station, also a certification platform for both charging and intelligent-EV engineering, in Lukang, Changhua County of central of Taiwan.
Delta Electronics Inc. defeated AC Power to win ARTC's contract to set up the charging station at the center, which has four charging bays for most EVs excluding large e-buses.
The center said the charging station allows local EV makers to test and certify vehicles to accelerate industry development on the island, with the charging station meeting most mainstream charging standards, including SAE of the U.S., IEC of Europe, CHAdeMO of Japan, GB of China etc..
Joe Huang, president of ARTC, says the center plans to invest an additional NT$400 million (US$13.3 million) to set up an electro-magnetic compatibility (EMC) test lab for large buses, also claiming that the ARTC aims to establish a globally-compatible EV testing and certification platform in Taiwan.
The president also said that in 2011 the ARTC signed cooperation agreements or memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with international certification bodies, including SAE, UL, TUV SUD etc. to accelerate certifications of local EV-related makers for faster and easier export.
Currently there are qualified (certified by Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection, or BSMI, under Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs) certification bodies for EV charging stations in Taiwan, with four companies or organizations' EV charging facilities already certified, including the Mechanical & System Research Laboratories (MSL) under ITRI, Chimei Precision, Delta Electronics, and AC Power Corp.
More E-scooters TES Certified
In the fourth quarter of 2011, three more e-scooter models from local makers were TES (Taiwan E-Scooter Standard) certified and qualified for subsidies of NT$11,000 (light model compared to NT$8,000 for small/light models) for each unit sold in Taiwan. The three green models include the EA10FA by Kwang Yang Motor Co., Ltd. (KYMCO brand), ED1LU2 by Sanyang Industry Co., Ltd. (SYM), and the EM1A6 by China Motor Corp. (Green Trans).
As of the first quarter of 2012, 18 e-scooters have been TES-certified to qualify for government subsidies, including 11 small/light models and seven light models.
Industry sources say that makers launched more "light" e-scooters as many consumers are dissatisfied with the weaker performance of small/light models, which overlap electric bicycles. The more-powerful e-scooters, the sources say, will help to spur e-scooter sales in suburban areas and offshore islands, as well as replace more 50cc internal combustion engine (ICE) counterparts to cut air pollution on the island.
Thailand's worst floods in more than 50 years in late 2011 impacted the global auto-parts supply chains, especially those for Japanese automakers' plants in Southeast Asia.
In Taiwan, Honda Taiwan Motor Co., a 100%-owned subsidiary of Honda Japan, was derailed as the company relies on the supply of many parts from Thailand, forcing Honda Taiwan to temporarily halt production in early December 2011, and ask auto-parts suppliers in Taiwan to stop shipment.
Industry sources say that extreme natural disasters, such as the floods in Thailand and earthquake/tsunami in Japan, have awakened global automakers to the risks of supply-chain termination, motivating them to set up diversified parts supply bases to address such contingencies. Taiwan, they stress, has easy access and trade freedom, hence being a very good choice for global automakers to purchase parts or invest in for parts production.
EV Pilot Projects
Continuing to drive the EV industry on the island, the Taiwan government has kicked off three EV pilot projects in Taipei, Taichung and Tainan, in mid-November 2011.
The Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) of the Ministry of Economic Affairs says the three projects aim to produce annually some 60,000 EVs in the future, for annual revenue of about NT$150 billion (US$5 billion).
Responding to the governmental EV policies, Yulon Group, the largest carmaker on the island, has invested millions of NT dollars to build an EV charging zone at its headquarters in Taipei, with the works expected to be completed by June.
The IDB just announced the most public-friendly EV pilot project in Taipei, in which the bureau and Yulon Group plan to jointly invest NT$360 million (US$12 million) to purchase from Yulon 100 tobe and Luxgen battery electric vehicles (BEVs), as well as set up four EV leasing points and construct 100 EV charging stations in northern Taiwan, which will lease EVs to the public for short-term sightseeing or test drives.
The first EV leasing point is already in operation at the Banciao Train Station in New Taipei City. Operated by Carplus Auto Leasing Corp. of Yulon Group, people can rent a BEV for NT$1,999 (US$67) per day, cheaper than a gasoline-powered car.
IEK-ITIS says the value of Taiwan's assembled-vehicle production in the first quarter of 2012 is expected to remain the same as that of a year earlier at about NT$46.8 billion (US$1.56 billion), thanks to still-strong replacement purchases. Sales of new cars in Taiwan are expected to slide a little in 2012 to some 270,000 units, compared to 283,000 in 2011. For 2012, IEK-ITIS forecasts that the annual assembled-vehicle production value will decline by 4% to about NT$179.8 billion (US$5.99 billion).
Due to fewer workdays and lower demand from automakers, auto-parts production in the first quarter of 2012 is estimated to drop 1.5% YoY to NT$45.1 billion (US$1.5 billion), with the 2012 value expected to decline 2% from the previous year to some NT$181.6 billion (US$6.1 billion), because of modest decline in domestic new-car sales and decreased parts exports caused by Europe's sovereign debt crisis.
First-quarter PTW production is estimated to decrease 8% QoQ to NT$9.57 billion (US$319 million), due to seasonality and still-high inventory level at distributors. Taiwan's PTW exports in 2012 are expected to drop due to poor demand from Europe. In 2012, local PTW makes are expected to produce about 1.15 million units for domestic and export sales, for a 4% YoY decrease in overall production value of NT$45 billion (US$1.5 billion).
In the first quarter of 2012, e-scooter production value in Taiwan is expected to grow 67.4% YoY, but drop 4.7% QoQ to about NT$145 million (US$4.8 million). In 2012, with government subsidies continuing to encourage e-scooter purchase and exports continuing to rise due to more models becoming available, the e-scooter production value is expected to grow 80% to reach NT$1.1 billion (US$36.7 million).
(by Quincy Liang)