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Lifan to gear up overseas expansio

CHONGQING – Lifan Motors received over $170 million orders from dozens of global distributors, who gathered on March 10 in West China’s Chongqing to attend the first Global Distributor Convention of Lifan Motors.

Despite the global financial crisis, Lifan Motors exported 17,781 vehicles (including CKD/SKD assembly) to 53 countries in 2008, ranking third only after Chery and Geely among all independent car manufacturers, Mark Timber, general manager of Lifan Import & Export Co., Ltd. told CBU/CAR in an interview during the convention.

“We have sold a total of 6,000 units of LF 520 since 2007,” Yevgeny Mezhov, managing director of Eastern Ltd., Lifa’s exclusive distributor in Russia, told CBU/CAR. “Five year ago, people in Russia considered that Chinese cars were cheap, ugly, not reliable and not safe, but now they changed their ideas about Chinese cars. Now Chinese cars, LF 520 for example, have a good quality, good design, and affordable price and it can also run very well in the extremely cold weather in Russia.”

According to Mezhov, his company began to set up a SKD assembly plant locally last year to better meet the local market demands, but with the duty policy changes, now they have to import Chinese cars through CKD.

As introduced by Timber, currently Lifan Motors has already established CKD and SKD assembly plants in Russia, Vietnam, Iran and Ethiopia. A new CKD plant in Uruguay is now under construction and is expected to begin assembly before the end of this year. Up to now Lifan Motors has set up a total of 700 dealerships all over the world.

Lifan Motors will also develop more vehicles to support its overseas importers and distributors. “In addition to existing LF 520, Lifan Motors will launch a total of eight vehicles to the domestic and overseas markets in the next five years, including LF 620, New LF 520, LF 320, LF SUV, LF Minivan, LF MPV, LF 720,” announced Guan Fengjin, executive president of Lifan Group, at the convention.

According to Guan, Lifan Motors will start production of a 200,000-unit engine plant and a 100,000-unit minivan plant within 2009. A 100,000-unit car plant and a 50,000-unit SUV plant located in Inner Mongolia will also begin operations in 2010.

With the above-mentioned expansion, the Chongqing-based motorcycle and car manufacturer plans to produce 70,000 units of vehicles this year, 120,000 units in 2010, 180,000 units in 2011, 200,000 units in 2012, and 300,000-400,000 units in 2013.

In 2008, Lifan Motors sold 30,997 cars, up 23.24 percent compared with the same period in 2007, according to CBU-Autostats.

Statistics of Lifan Group in 2008

Total sales value                                     $1.85 billion

Export value                                            $569 million

Motorcycle sales                                      1.777 million units

Engine sales                                          3.3558 million units

Automobile sales                                    116,400 units

General gasoline motor sales                  368,800 units

 

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