Chinese carmaker Lifan is reportedly planning to launch its Corolla-sized LF 520 sedan on the Australia market in September, undercutting the price of rivals Hyundai and Kia by at least 10 percent.
If Lifan succeeds in its plan to export the already-homologated car to Australia, it will be the first Chinese-branded passenger car to be sold here.
A sleeker and more contemporary-styled larger sedan, called the LF 720 (concept rendering above), will be the first Lifan model to feature electronic stability control. It commences left-hand drive production in 12 months and right-hand drive in 18 months.
In early 2010, Lifan also plans to launch its small/medium sized LF 620 Sedan and the diminutive LF 320 hatch. The MINI look-alike first appeared at the recent 2009 Shanghai Motor Show.
Both the LF620 and LF520 are powered by a 1.6 litre four-cylinder petrol engine, and while the 520?s most direct rivals are the Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio, the 620 will square off against the Kia Cerato.
The MINI-style LF320 has a 65kW/110Nm Lifan-designed, Euro IV emissions-compliant 1.3 litre 16 valve DOHC four-cylinder engine that returns a economical fuel consumption figure of 4.8 l/100km at a constant 90km/h ? a Chinese fuel economy test norm.
The LF320 has a top speed of 155km/h and features twin front airbags as standard, along with an anti-lock braking system (ABS) that includes electronic brake-force distribution (EBD). Power-steering and 14-inch wheels also feature.
Shaun Lane, CEO for Lifan importer China Motors Franchise, cautioned the import plan was dependent on improved economic conditions in Australia, including a continued improvement in the value of the Australian dollar and a market with less price discounting (of established brands) than is currently occurring.
The LF 520 is the first Chinese-branded passenger vehicle to pass Australian Design Rule (ADR) standards, clearing the way for an Aussie debut.