Lifan Automobile

Image of Lifan 520 sedan

Lifan 520 sedan

Founded in 1992, Lifan Industry Group Co., Ltd (Lifan Group) with more than 13,000 employees, is one of the biggest privately-owned enterprises in China. It started in business by manufacturing motorcycles and engines. It is now the largest manufacturer of motorcycles in China.

In 2003, Lifan Group established Chongqing Lifan Automobile Co., Ltd. (Lifan Automobile) by purchasing Chongqing Special Purpose Use Vehicle Manufacturing Co., Ltd. In 2004, through the restructuring of Yunnan Dali Junma Automotive Company, which manufactures light and heavy trucks, Lifan Automobile greatly increased its size.

The Economic Observer, citing people familiar with the deal, recently reported that the Chinese automaker Beijing Automotive Industry Co. is in talks to acquire Lifan Group’s auto making subsidiary, Lifan Automobile Co.

Commenting on the talks, Yin Mingshan, president of Chongqing Lifan Holdings, said that “Lifan welcomes partnership negotiations with any auto groups provided that the partnership allows Lifan to retain its own brand and voting rights on the board.”

Mr. Yin did not specify the details of any potential deal but said Lifan is always open to acquisitions and mergers.

(Update) Lifan Automobile Co. has denied media reports that Beijing Auto was in talks to acquire it. Previous news quoted Lifan president Yin Mingshan as commenting that “Lifan welcomes partnership talks with any auto groups…”

In response to these “rumored” words, Mr. Yin recently stated: “I can very responsibly say that there are no such talks; the rumor is completely baseless. Lifan has never talked with Beijing Auto about restructuring (acquisition).” This statement was echoed by a Lifan executive, who said Lifan Auto has no difficulty in its operations.

Lifan Auto is China’s largest privately-owned manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles. Its auto sales in the first quarter of 2009 grew nearly 50%.

In 2008 American International Group (AIG) bought a 13.5% stake in Lifan Group for $90 million, making AIG the second largest shareholder in the company.

Lifan Automobile products are sold in over 118 countries worldwide. It currently offers four models of automobiles: LF520, LF520i, LF620, and the LF320.