Saturday, November 10, 2007
China's automakers aren't fooling around when it comes to aggressive growth. While you don't hear much enthusiasm from European or North American automakers about the market on the African continent, There's already at least two Chinese carmakers who've set up shop there as a way to expand beyond the borders of their home country. Holland Car is the first car assembly plant in Ethiopia, and it's kicking out a renamed Lifan 520. The 520 goes by the handle Abay in Ethiopia. Abay is the name of Ethiopia's largest river, and the hope is that the name will spur buyers to check the vehicle out. Equipment levels are luxury-level for its market, $16,000 price buys you safety gear like ABS, airbags and brake distribution, and quality is good enough that Lifan thinks it will change Ethiopian's opinions about a domestically produced car. Power is provided by a 1.3 liter four cylinder twisting a 5-speed transmission. The cars are assembled from knock-downs (CKD), and appear to have been solidly engineered. Lifan produces the 520 in several different locations – Russia, and Vietnam, for example.
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