Lifan Industry (Group) Co., Ltd. (Lifan Group or Lifan, Chinese: 力帆, lit. "Power Sail") is a civilian owned Chinese motorcycle and automobile manufacturer headquartered in Chongqing, China. It was founded in 1992 and began to manufacture automobiles in 2005, with license-built microvans and a small sedan developed by Lifan.
Lifan's vehicle products include passenger cars, microvans, dirt bike engines, entry-level motorcycles, mini-vehicles, and commercial trucks. The company's non-vehicle-related activities include the manufacture of sports shoes and winemaking. Outside of China, Lifan is currently best known for the sale of small passenger cars in emerging markets. Lifan is best known winning the (CRRC) China Road Racing Championship with its KPR bikes 17 times.
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 positive relationship with the Chinese Communist Party. The company was originally called "Chongqing Hongda Auto Fittings Research Centre". The company was renamed Lifan Industry Group in 1997. It expanded into building buses in 2003. As of 2004, Lifan was being referred to as "the largest private motorcycle manufacturer in China." In 2009, it as the fifth-largest Chinese motorcycle maker.
M/S CHONGQING LIFAN CO., LTD is the subsidiary of M/S LIFAN INDUSTRY (GROUP) CO., LTD. In 2003, Lifan acquired Chongqing Special Purpose Use Vehicle Manufacturing Co Ltd, 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. 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.
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.
Founder Yin Mingshan and his family are worth US$1.3 billion as of 2014.
Trademark dispute with Honda Motor
In 2004, Lifan was ordered to cease selling motorcycles under the brand name "Hongda"—the culmination of a successful lawsuit brought by Honda Motors. That same year Honda initiated a separate suit against Lifan this time for using badges similar to Honda's on its motorcycle products.
Current and former Lifan motorcycle products include:
- - Small-displacement street motorcycle.
- - Dual-sport motorcycle that utilises a cooling system of oil pumped through its frame.
- - looks Similarly To a Harley but much slower or a Yamaha Virago XV535.
- - Smaller, less powerful version of the KPR150 street motorcycle.
- Lifan KPR 200 - The Most Powerful Version in The KPR series
- - Mini street bike.
Current and former Lifan automobile products include:
- - this small minivan and pickup is based on the 1999 Daihatsu Atrai, but has since been replaced
- Lifan 320 - a small hatchback, famous for being a fairly straightforward copy of the current Mini.
- Lifan 330
- Lifan 520 - built since 2005, this subcompact sedan was Lifan's first original development.
- Lifan 520i - the hatchback version of the subcompact 520, with its own bodywork
- Lifan 530
- Lifan 620 - a compact sedan
- Lifan 630
- Lifan 650
- Lifan 720
- Lifan 820
- Lifan Lotto
- Lifan X50
- Lifan X60 - Lifan's first SUV
- Lifan Maiwei
- Lifan X70
- Lifan X80
- Lifan Foison - introduced in 2011, this minivan range is based on the earlier LF6361 series.
- Lifan Mini Truck LF1022 - a truck version of the Foison
- Lifan Light Truck model LF1025D
Now boasting motorcycle production bases in Thailand, Iran, Turkey, and Vietnam, Lifan first established a presence in Vietnam in 1999 that made motorcycles and parts. Beginning in March 2007, assembly of the 520 sedan commenced in Vietnam. By mid-2009, the 320, 520i, and 620 had also been built or assembled in this country.
Overseas assembly factories make Lifan-branded automobiles sold to domestic audiences but are not necessarily affiliated with Lifan in any way.
Such assembly has occurred in Egypt.
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) by Holland Car Company. Cars assembled in Ethiopia may now bear the Lifan name, and an after sales service center for Lifan automobiles exists in the capital, Addis Ababa, as of 2010. As of 2016, Lifan continues to produce in Ethiopia (perhaps without a local partner), assembling cars with native-born labor from knock-down kits. 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.
Research and development
Access to profitable export markets, something the Chinese State allowed the company in 1998, 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.
While finding more markets for its motorcycle-related products, Lifan has exported passenger cars to 51 countries. In 2010, its automotive exports were rivaled by only Chery. The company has sold in many countries and in every continent except Antarctica.
Allowed access in 2003, Lifan motorcycle products are sold in 18 European countries. The Italian importer Martin Motors rebadges and sells two small Lifan passenger car models under its own name.
- About Lifan Group Lifan Official Site (Web Archive)
- Lifan website Archived 2011-10-28 at the Wayback Machine
- "About Lifan Group". Official website of Lifan Group. Archived from the original on 2009-10-22. Retrieved 2011-01-25.
- China's Lifan Industry to debut in Shanghai this week reuters.com, Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:37am IST
- Lifan IPO latest in quest for capital chinadaily.com.cn, 2010-11-29
- Corporate profile Archived 2011-07-13 at the Wayback Machine Lifan official site
- "The communist entrepreneur: Yin Mingshan shows how to make profits and political friends in China". The Economist. 2003-03-27.
- Great Events of Lifan Group from 1999 to 2005 Archived 2011-07-13 at the Wayback Machine Lifan official site
- World of Cars 2006·2007. Warsaw, Poland: Media Connection Sp. z o.o. 2006. p. 236.
- "Honda, Lifan locked in trademark disagreement". chinadaily.com.cn. China Daily. 3 June 2004. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
- "Chinese Brands". ChinaAutoWeb.com. Retrieved 2011-09-14.
- Hu, Haiyan. "Rewards of the journey". China Daily. China Daily. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
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- "#159 Yin Mingshan & family". Forbes. Forbes. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
- Inoue, Kae (24 Dec 2004). "Honda Wins Hongda Suit as China Cracks Down on Piracy". bloomberg.com. Bloomberg LP. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
- "No, it's not a Mini..." Autocar.co.uk. 2010-04-24. Retrieved 2010-09-13.
- Factory in Vietnam Lifan Official Site (Web Archive)
- Lifan320, Lifan620 Landed in Vietnam Archived 2011-10-02 at the Wayback Machine Lifan Official Site, 9/9/2009
- LIFAN MOTORS RANKED 2ND AMONG CHINESE EXPORTERS Archived 2011-10-02 at the Wayback Machine Lifan Official Site, 6/7/2010
- Blue Nile flows in Ethiopia ---- Lifan Motors in Ethiopia Archived 2011-10-02 at the Wayback Machine Lifan Official Site, 19/3/2009
- Official Launching of Lifan Wholly-owned Subsidiary in Ethiopia Archived 2011-10-02 at the Wayback Machine Lifan Official Site, 5/1/2010
- 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
- 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
- Asher, Zain. "Marketplace Africa (series)." CNN. CNN International. 10 April 2016.
- Assembly Plant of Lifan Motors Settles Down in Uruguay Archived 2011-10-02 at the Wayback Machine Lifan Official Site, 6/4/2010
- "CHINESE AUTOMAKER LIFAN'S 320 STARTS PRODUCTION IN RUSSIA", Asia Pulse, Rhodes, Mar 23, 2011
- Global Lifan > Global Network (image) Lifan Official Site (Web Archive)
- Chi Siamo Martin Motors Official Site
- Lifan Motors Launches in Laos Archived 2011-10-02 at the Wayback Machine Lifan Official Site, 25/11/2009
- The First 4S Store of Lifan Motors Opened in Syria Archived 2011-10-02 at the Wayback Machine Lifan Official Site, 3/6/2009
- Hermosa, Jessica Anne D. (February 4, 2009). "Lifan out to prove that China cars mean quality". BusinessWorld. pp. S1/9.
- Lifan Motors Brazil web site lifanmotors.com.br
- Lifan Landing in Guatemala, Full-scale Covering Mid-America Archived 2011-10-02 at the Wayback Machine Lifan Official Site, 6/7/2010
- Lifan320 Launches in Peru, Leading Popularity of LIFAN MINI Archived 2011-10-02 at the Wayback Machine Lifan Official Site, 13/5/2010
- Productos Archived 2011-02-02 at the Wayback Machine grupoaler.com