Lifan Group

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Lifan Industry (Group) Co., Ltd.
Public company
Traded as SSE: 601777
Industry Automotive
Founded 1992 (Chongqing)[1]
Founder Yǐn Míngshàn
Headquarters Chongqing, China
Key people
  • Yǐn Míngshàn (Chairman)
  • Móu Gāng (牟刚) (President)
Products Commercial vehicles
Passenger cars
Microvans
Dirt bike engines
Motorcycles
Sports shoes
Wine
Number of employees
13,653[2]
Website lifan.com
Lifan Group
Simplified Chinese 力帆实业(集团)股份有限公司
Traditional Chinese 力帆實業(集團)股份有限公司
Literal meaning "Great Sail" Industry (Group) Co., Ltd.

Lifan Industry (Group) Co., Ltd. (Lifan Group or Lifan,[3][4] Chinese: 力帆, lit. "Great Sail") is a privately owned Chinese motorcycle and automobile manufacturer headquartered in Chongqing, China. It was founded in 1992 and began the manufacture of automobiles in 2005, with license-built microvans and a small sedan developed by Lifan themselves.[5]

Lifan's vehicle products include passenger cars, microvans, dirt bike engines, entry-level motorcycles, mini-vehicles, and commercial trucks.[6] The company's non-vehicle-related activities include the manufacture of sports shoes and winemaking.[7] Outside of China, Lifan is currently best known for the sale of small passenger cars in emerging markets.

History[edit]

A Lifan truck, 2009

Lifan was founded by former political dissident Yin Mingshan in 1992 as a motorcycle repair shop with a staff of nine. Mingshan has a long history of conflict with government authority but currently enjoys a good relationship with the Chinese Communist Party.[7] The company was originally called "Chongqing Hongda Auto Fittings Research Centre".[8] The company was renamed Lifan Industry Group in 1997.[8] It expanded into building buses in 2003.[9] As of 2004, Lifan was being referred to as "the largest private motorcycle manufacturer in China."[10] In 2009, it as the fifth-largest Chinese motorcycle maker.[5]

In 2003, Lifan acquired Chongqing Special Purpose Use Vehicle Manufacturing Co Ltd,[6] and 2005 saw the start of automobile production beginning with the LF6361/1010 minivan and pickup based on the 1999 Daihatsu Atrai. In December 2005, Lifan's first independently developed car entered production, the 520 sedan with a Brazilian Tritec engine.[9] As of 2011, Lifan makes a number of consumer offerings including the subcompact 320, the compact sedan and hatchback 520, the mid-sized 620 sedan, and the X60 compact SUV.[11]

Lifan made an IPO on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in late-2010.[5] In 2011, Lifan's exchange-listed entity announced revenue of USD$1.83 billion, and profits of USD$62 million.[12]

Lifan entered into an agreement with Italian motorcycle manufacturer MV Agusta in July 4, 2014, to be MV Agusta's sole distributors in China. Lifan currently have a number of Agusta models on show at selected dealerships, including the F4 RR motorcycle.[13]

Founder Yin Mingshan and his family are worth USD1.3 billion as of 2014.[14]

Trademark dispute with Honda Motor[edit]

In 2004, Lifan was ordered to cease selling motorcycles under the brand name "Hongda"—the culmination of a successful lawsuit brought by Honda Motors.[15] That same year Honda initiated a separate suit against Lifan this time for using badges similar to Honda's on its motorcycle products.[10]

Products[edit]

Motorcycles[edit]

Current and former Lifan motorcycle products include:

Automobiles[edit]

Current and former Lifan automobile products include:

Gallery[edit]

Lifan 320 
Lifan 520i 
Lifan 520 
Lifan 620 
Lifan 720 
Lifan X60 
Lifan X50 
Lifan Truck 

Operations[edit]

Production facilities[edit]

Lifan has two passenger-car assembly plants in China.[4][6]

Now boasting motorcycle production bases in Thailand,Iran, Turkey, and Vietnam,[1] Lifan first established a presence in Vietnam in 1999 that made motorcycles and parts.[17] Beginning in March 2007, assembly of the 520 sedan commenced in Vietnam.[6] By mid-2009, the 320, 520i, and 620 had also been built or assembled in this country.[18]

Overseas assembly factories make Lifan-branded automobiles sold to domestic audiences but are not necessarily affiliated with Lifan in any way.

Azerbaijan

In early 2010, Lifan established an automobile assembly factory in Azerbaijan.[19]

Egypt

Such assembly has occurred in Egypt.[1]

Ethiopia

From 2007 until 2010, the Lifan 520 was assembled in Ethiopia from imported knock-down kits under the name of "Abay" (Amharic for the Blue Nile)[20] by Holland Car Company.[21] Cars assembled in Ethiopia may now bear the Lifan name,[22] and an after sales service center for Lifan automobiles exists in the capital, Addis Ababa, as of 2010.[23] As of 2016, Lifan continues to produce in Ethiopia (perhaps without a local partner), assembling cars with native-born labor from knock-down kits.[24] Five different models can be made at the current facility, set up in 2014, and sales can total fifty cars a month at prices ranging from $15,000 to $30,000.[24]

Iran

Lifan was assembling cars in Iran around 2010.[25]

Russia

Assembly of automobiles in Russia began in August 2007,[6] and in early 2011, the 320 model became the third Lifan product to see local production.[26]

Uruguay

In 2010, a 40,000 units/year production capacity assembly plant was established in Uruguay.[25]

Research and development[edit]

At the end of 2006, Lifan held over 3,800 patents, the largest number of any Chinese automobile company,[1] of which at least 346 of were held by Lifan's automobile division.[6]

Sales[edit]

A Lifan 520 at a dealership in Chile in 2009

Access to profitable export markets, something the Chinese State allowed the company in 1998,[6] means that this maker of automobiles and motorcycles does what many Chinese automakers desire: it sells in developed overseas markets like the EU, Singapore and Japan.[6]

While finding more markets for its motorcycle-related products, Lifan has exported passenger cars to 51 countries.[6] In 2010, its automotive exports were rivaled by only Chery.[19] The company has sold in many countries and in every continent except Antarctica.[27]

Allowed access in 2003, Lifan motorcycle products are sold in 18 European countries.[1] The Italian importer Martin Motors rebadges and sells two small Lifan passenger car models under its own name.[28]

Lifan has sold motorcycles in Japan since 2001.[1] Lifan automobiles have been sold in Laos and Syria since 2009.[29][30]

Lifan motorcycles and dirt bikes are available in Canada[27] and Mexico. As of 2009, a single model was on offer in this country.[31]

Some small passenger car models are sold in Brazil,[32] Guatemala,[33] Peru,[34] and Uruguay.[35]

Some of the cars Lifan exports are in the form of knock-down kits.[25] Put together in small, local workshops, selling such kits is an easy way for the company to gain access to developing markets.

Sponsorships[edit]

Lifan was formerly the owner of the Chinese super league football team Chongqing Lifan; since 2005 it has been a sponsor of the team.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f About Lifan Group Lifan Official Site (Web Archive)
  2. ^ Lifan website Archived 2011-10-28 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ "About Lifan Group". Official website of Lifan Group. Archived from the original on 2009-10-22. Retrieved 2011-01-25. 
  4. ^ a b China's Lifan Industry to debut in Shanghai this week reuters.com, Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:37am IST
  5. ^ a b c Lifan IPO latest in quest for capital chinadaily.com.cn, 2010-11-29
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Corporate profile Archived 2011-07-13 at the Wayback Machine. Lifan official site
  7. ^ a b "The communist entrepreneur: Yin Mingshan shows how to make profits and political friends in China". The Economist. 2003-03-27. 
  8. ^ a b Great Events of Lifan Group from 1999 to 2005 Archived 2011-07-13 at the Wayback Machine. Lifan official site
  9. ^ a b World of Cars 2006·2007. Warsaw, Poland: Media Connection Sp. z o.o. 2006. p. 236. 
  10. ^ a b "Honda, Lifan locked in trademark disagreement". chinadaily.com.cn. China Daily. 3 June 2004. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  11. ^ "Chinese Brands". ChinaAutoWeb.com. Retrieved 2011-09-14. 
  12. ^ Hu, Haiyan. "Rewards of the journey". China Daily. China Daily. Retrieved 24 May 2015. 
  13. ^ Hamilton, Jeremy. "Lifan Motorcycle Company Profile". ChinaMotorRider. Retrieved 24 May 2015. 
  14. ^ "#159 Yin Mingshan & family". Forbes. Forbes. Retrieved 24 May 2015. 
  15. ^ Inoue, Kae (24 Dec 2004). "Honda Wins Hongda Suit as China Cracks Down on Piracy". bloomberg.com. Bloomberg LP. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  16. ^ Saturday, April 24, 2010 (2010-04-24). "No, it's not a Mini...". Autocar.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-09-13. 
  17. ^ Factory in Vietnam Lifan Official Site (Web Archive)
  18. ^ Lifan320, Lifan620 Landed in Vietnam Archived 2011-10-02 at the Wayback Machine. Lifan Official Site, 9/9/2009
  19. ^ a b LIFAN MOTORS RANKED 2ND AMONG CHINESE EXPORTERS Archived 2011-10-02 at the Wayback Machine. Lifan Official Site, 6/7/2010
  20. ^ Blue Nile flows in Ethiopia ---- Lifan Motors in Ethiopia Archived 2011-10-02 at the Wayback Machine. Lifan Official Site, 19/3/2009
  21. ^ Official Launching of Lifan Wholly-owned Subsidiary in Ethiopia Archived 2011-10-02 at the Wayback Machine. Lifan Official Site, 5/1/2010
  22. ^ The First Batch Lifan Cars in Ethiopia From a Wholly Owned Subsidiary of Lifan Motors Offlined Archived 2011-10-02 at the Wayback Machine. Lifan Official Site, 3/3/2010
  23. ^ Vehicle Delivery & After-sales Service Station Launching Ceremony of Lifan Motors in Ethiopia Archived 2011-10-02 at the Wayback Machine. Lifan Official Site, 15/4/2010
  24. ^ a b Asher, Zain. "Marketplace Africa (series)." CNN. CNN International. 10 April 2016.
  25. ^ a b c Assembly Plant of Lifan Motors Settles Down in Uruguay Archived 2011-10-02 at the Wayback Machine. Lifan Official Site, 6/4/2010
  26. ^ "CHINESE AUTOMAKER LIFAN'S 320 STARTS PRODUCTION IN RUSSIA", Asia Pulse, Rhodes, Mar 23, 2011 
  27. ^ a b Global Lifan > Global Network (image) Lifan Official Site (Web Archive)
  28. ^ Chi Siamo Martin Motors Official Site
  29. ^ Lifan Motors Launches in Laos Archived 2011-10-02 at the Wayback Machine. Lifan Official Site, 25/11/2009
  30. ^ The First 4S Store of Lifan Motors Opened in Syria Archived 2011-10-02 at the Wayback Machine. Lifan Official Site, 3/6/2009
  31. ^ Hermosa, Jessica Anne D. (February 4, 2009). "Lifan out to prove that China cars mean quality". BusinessWorld. pp. S1/9. 
  32. ^ Lifan Motors Brazil web site lifanmotors.com.br
  33. ^ Lifan Landing in Guatemala, Full-scale Covering Mid-America Archived 2011-10-02 at the Wayback Machine. Lifan Official Site, 6/7/2010
  34. ^ Lifan320 Launches in Peru, Leading Popularity of LIFAN MINI Archived 2011-10-02 at the Wayback Machine. Lifan Official Site, 13/5/2010
  35. ^ Productos Archived 2011-02-02 at the Wayback Machine. grupoaler.com

External links[edit]