On Jan 30, 2009. Lifan Motors held the launching ceremony in Manila, Government officials, chinese commercial counselor and chinese celebrities were all present at this ceremony. Meanwhile, the first sales store of Lifan Motors in the Philippines commenced to sell.
Lifan Group entered Philippine Market in 2003 relying on its motorcycles and built a sound brand image among customers. The negotiation for entering the Philippines started in 2007. Through long term business negotiation and a series of product quality and road trial, functions of Lifan cars have been highly praised by distributors. During Philippine commodity show from October 23 to 26 in 2008, Lifan cars declared its view to Philippine customers; hereafter Lifan cars can be seen in every large and middle exhibition. Lifan Motors has received over 10 cars order before selling to the public. On the day of launching , ten companies showed interest in becoming Lifan distributors and various taxi operators showed strong wishes to purchase.
The capacity of passenger cars are estimated 40,000 in the Philippines in 2009, introduced by business representative of Lifan Motors in the Philippines. Lifan targets to take 2% to 3% market share for the first year, which is not an easy aim for a new brand. However, the exchange rate of Philippine market is stable that most Japanese cars and Chinese brands have marked up or ready to rise. Considering the benefits of end consumers, Lifan will keep the price stable and provide the warranty policy of 3 years or 100,000 km running making the products more competitive. Therefore, Lifan and its distributors hold firm confidence in Philippine market.
Lifan Unveils New Subcompact Hatchback
Fancy owning a Mini? If you find the nearly P2-million price tag too prohibitive, then Lifan’s latest subcompact hatchback might be more to your liking.
The Lifan 320 easily warrants a second look as the Chinese car company’s design team was clearly inspired by the iconic English-German brand from the shape of the grille on the front all the way to the chrome license plate garnish at the rear.
Although the Lifan 320′s shape closely follows that of the Mini’s, the Chinese car is actually more practical as it has four doors instead of two and is powered by an economical 1.3-liter petrol engine which puts out 84hp and 110NM of torque.
“This is the first time we’ve shown the 320 to the public and we’ve already received a lot of favorable response for it,” said Rogelio Tio, administrator for Ravinian Distributors, Lifan’s local distributor. “Our first batch of 320s is coming in by May or early June but we’re already accepting pre-orders for those who’d like to reserve a unit.”
Lifan Cars to Sell Low-Cost Autos in RP
Chinese carmaker Lifan Cars announced it will start soon selling low cost vehicles to the country.
“We are confident that the entry of Lifan Cars will help revitalize the local domestic industry as it gives car buyers more choices. Car buyers will also enjoy considerable savings without compromising the quality, safety and comfort of their vehicles,” Lifan Cars president Nelson Ong said in a statement.
Ong said he is confident that the company will enjoy commercial success in the Philippine market given the preference of Filipino car buyers to quality but affordable vehicles.
He said Lifan Cars expects to be a major player in the car sector in the long run as the company plans to expand its product portfolio in the Philippine market.Lifan Cars will soon introduce its LF520 mid-size sedan. The LF520 will be available to the market immediately after its formal launch on Jan. 30 at Lifan’s showroom in Quezon City.
The company plans to introduce to the local market at least three car models this year.
Ong said the Chinese brand plans to expand its business in the Philippines by aggressively pursuing nationwide dealership.
General manager William Agcaoili expressed confidence that they will have strong domestic sales given the rising demand for quality but affordable vehicles and the growth of the auto industry in general.
Last year alone, Philippine vehicle sales jumped by six percent to 124,449 units even as neighboring Asian countries suffered falling sales and profits brought about by the global financial crunch.
“One major consideration for Lifan’s entry into the market is the availability of a good market. We believe that it will appeal to the young urban professionals and younger car enthusiasts, who comprise a large chunk of buyers in the local market,” Agcaoili sid.
“On top of their good looks, Lifan cars are equipped by powerful engines designed by United Kingdom-based engineering designs firm Ricardo Plc, for that extra torque and speed. They are trendy and the prices are also very competitive,” he added.
Lifan Cars is a unit of China-based conglomerate Lifan Group with operations in the financial/banking sector, real estate, football industry and R&D.
Redemption On Wheels
Add two more wheels to a motorcycle and you will have a car. That was what automakers including BMW AG and Honda Motor Co. Ltd. did to continue to succeed in the era of auto consumption.
Four years ago, China’s privately owned motorcycle producer Chongqing Lifan Industry (Group) Co. Ltd. followed in their footsteps and started producing compact cars.
As a counter-crisis effort, the now third largest sedan exporter in China officially introduced its new mini model, Lifan 320, on May 7 to enrich its product line. During its six-city promotion in May, the four-door clone of BMW Group’s Mini Cooper priced at 50,000 yuan ($7,153) received more than 1,000 orders.
The company received overseas orders totaling $170 million at the Shanghai Auto Show in April, fueled mainly by demand for its 320 model, said Liao Xionghui, General Manager of Lifan Motor Sales.
“Sales of mini cars will become a new growth point for us,” he told Beijing Review. He added although the financial crisis caused the company’s exports to drop by 40 percent year on year in the first quarter, booming domestic sales have offset most of the overseas losses.
“The most important thing for China’s independent automakers now is to survive,” Lifan’s President Yin Mingshan said.
In order to do that, Lifan has invited two strategic investors since last year and wants more. Meanwhile, Yin is adhering to a policy of “less is better.” The company has slowed down its launch of new cars while ensuring that each model becomes popular and sells well.
From two wheels to four
Yin made his money by selling books in the 1980s and invested 200,000 yuan ($29,283) in Lifan in 1992 to make motorcycles. In less than a decade, he turned its motorcycle repair workshop into a motorcycle kingdom.
Lifan topped its domestic competitors in terms of motorcycle engine sales, ranking third in the country in terms of vehicle sales in 2005 and was China’s largest motorcycle exporter that year.
But prior to that, competitive prices have already driven down the company’s profit margins. In Southeast Asia, where Lifan has hoped for increased sales, each motorcycle generated only 30-40 yuan ($4.4-4.8) in profit in 2005.
Lifan had attempted diversity and invested widely in alcohol, cigarette and garment manufacturing and the real estate sector from 2001 to 2004. However, most of these attempts failed until Yin found a four-wheel solution in 2005.
Yin made another bold decision at the age of 65. Unlike its previous investments in irrelevant industries, the company aimed to upgrade its vehicle production and focus on automobile manufacturing now because “the golden age of motorcycle makers passed,” he said.
Experiences from developed countries such as the United States and Japan indicate that societies enter an era of car consumption when their annual per-capita GDP exceeds $1,200. China’s per-capita GDP exceeded $1,000 in 2003 and reached $3,300 last year.
“It’s a reliable and effective expansion, because it’s easy for Lifan to transfer its experience and technologies in the motorcycle segment to the passenger car segment,” Yin said.
Today Lifan has sedan, truck and passenger car production lines. During the past four years, it has introduced its 520, 520i and 620 models and opened production plants in Viet Nam, Iran, Ethiopia and Russia.
But Lifan failed to meet its sales goal last year and had to adjust its expectation for 2009 to 60,000 vehicles, because of its crisis-affected overseas sales.
The company’s sedan exports alone plummeted 80 percent in the first quarter this year, according to Liao.
Cheered by the Chinese Government’s policies to encourage the purchase of small-engine vehicles, Lifan now depends on mini car sales and in May launched the Lifan 320 mini model with 1.1-liter engine. The company’s mini car plant in Chongqing is almost completed. In September, Lifan plans to introduce a minibus for 40,000 yuan ($5,857), Liao said.
In addition, the government’s policy of subsidizing auto purchases in rural areas will also help the company. Lifan will now take full advantage of its extensive motorcycle sales networks in rural areas to sell its car products in small county seats.
Besides, Lifan is now in better cash position after two rounds of strategic investments. The company sold a 13.5-percent stake for $90 million to American International Group last July before the U.S. insurance giant was later bailed out by the government on credit default swaps. Earlier this year, Lifan announced it secured another investment worth 150 million yuan ($22 million) from a Shanghai-based investment company.
“The financial crisis forced us to reconsider our quick expansion,” Yin said. “I admire Honda because the company has limited its number of models and has had a high profit rate for a single car model. That’s the example for Lifan.”
Lifan will launch at most two models a year in the future and focus on the high quality and profitability of each model, Yin said.
Article by Ding Wenlei