Lifan Automobile has announced that it will build nine overseas knock-down kit assembly plants by the end of 2008.

According to China Automotive Review, the first four plants will be in Russia, Vietnam, Egype and Iran. They will be operational by the end of 2007. The other five plants will be built in West Africa, South America, the Middle East and South Africa in 2008.

In Russia, Lifan is aiming to produce up to 25,000 cars a year in partnership with Derways Automotive. Lifan cars will be distributed in Russia by Avtomir Group.

Lifan is aiming to sell 15,000 cars overseas in 2008 and 100,000 by 2010. Lifan currently exports to 24 countries, including Kazakhstan, Ukrain and Peru.

Lifan currently has one plant with capacity of 100,000 units. A second plant is under construction with capacity of 150,000 units. A new engine plant in Chongqing is due to come on stream in early 2008 with production capacity of 200,000 units.

Lifan is currently working with Ricardo to improve its engines and meet Euro IV emissions requirements, which are due to come into force in China in early 2008, ahead of the Olympic Games in Beijing.