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Back in 2006 after traveling far inland to Chongqing and having a close look at Lifan, the New York Times graced the company with some rare complements. The Times came away impressed that the Lifan 520 sedan had a "sturdy body with no rattles or wiggles" and after a look at the factory they said glowingly that it was, "better organized than many Chinese factories".
Well in case someone thought no one noticed such applause, it seems AIG's (the global insurance giant's) executives stood up and took notice. They apparently wasted no time in doing some follow-up due diligence and decided that Yin Mingshan and his outfit showed real promise. In fact, last week Lifan announced it had sold a 13.7 % stake in his company for $90 million, to the erstwhile investor in the coveted Marunouchi building real estate located in central Tokyo. Lifan's Chairman Yin however made clear that his company would not sell more than 20% to any one outside investor.
Now we can look forward to the results of this, and other, substantial injections of capital into one of our favorite, albeit eccentric, Chinese carmakers of the independent kind..
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