In its global growth plan unveiled today, Lifan sets the goal of selling 120,000 vehicles overseas in 2015, which would account for about 40% of its total deliveries. This, according to a Lifan VP, is a conservative estimate in light of the company’s fast expansion seen in the past few years. Starting to export in 2007, the Chongqing-based carmaker expects sales outside China to reach 53,000 this year.
Most of new Lifan cars in foreign markets are assembled from KD kits, which helps to avoid high tariffs imposed on imported whole vehicles as well as to reduce logistics costs. The company currently has assembly lines in Russia, Ethiopia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Uruguay, and Iraq. In Russia, its biggest foreign market, Lifan is the most popular Chinese auto brand, selling 12,219 cars in the first seven months of this year. In South America, it has recently acquired Uruguay’s BESINEY S.A. and established a R&D center in Brazil. On average, a Lifan car sold overseas generates a profit of about 5,000 Yuan, according to the VP.
To attract more foreign consumers, the automaker has begun to develop models specifically for them. The upcoming Lifan 420 is said to target South America in particular.