On April 18th, Liebao Auto resumed production at its Yongzhou factory after several months of dormancy. From around October/November 2019, none of Liebao's four factories had been functioning normally -- this was related to financial difficulties the company had been facing for quite some time. Its woes were then compounded by the advent of the pandemic which eliminated any chances of an early resumption, provided funds could be raised.
In late December, company management had decided on a turnaround plan which hinged on a cooperation with Geely for use of the new Changsha plant as well as returning two plants and the land (in Jingmen and Chuzhou) to the government for subsequent disposal (the Jingmen plant was newly constructed). The Yongzhou factory was to be retained for its own products (if and when sales did revive).
In late April, the strategic cooperation agreement was formally concluded with Geely (post). It is not known whether any action on returning the two plants has been initiated or not.
The Mattu that is currently produced at the Yongzhou factory has been upgraded to meet China-VI standards. This version is known as "Mattu Shanyao" [闪耀 meaning 'shine']. At present, it is Leopaard's only model in production as well as its only model available with a China-VI compliant engine (1.6T, 200 PS). The new version was launched on the market one month later, on May 19th, in seven variants (link).
It looks like Liebao is already enjoying the benefits of an alliance with Geely. Just last month, what I saw and noted as a "bare boned" manufacturer's website, is now an updated and bright online presence for Leopaard, featuring not only the "Mattu Shanyao" but the also the models, CS9,CS10,CS9EV,Q6, and CT7, now out of production.
Thanks, Lawrence, for alerting us to the website update, although a few points to note:
The website shows a copyright date of 2018, and the latest news is from 2019-04-12.
The Mattu, from its specifications, is the China-V version, not the China-VI Shanyao. The prices match, but that is because prices of the China-VI variants have been kept at the same levels as the China-V variants' (check prices). So I think this website update is pre-Geely partnership.
P.S.: I however cannot explain why you saw a barebones website last month. If this was created after the alliance with Geely, wouldn't there have been some reference to, or news item relating to, the agreement-signing ceremony?
Leopaard has not ruled out reviving the other models even though currently those are not being produced. Last year they sent CS10 (Euro-5) samples to Oman expecting an export order; quite some time back I had also read a Russian article stating the CS10 might be imported there, but those deals haven't materialized. The Binge and Coupe too had been in the pipeline when production was suspended.
Anhui Changfeng Yangzi Motor was renamed to Anhui Liebao Automobile Co., Ltd. (Anhui Leopaard Motor) in 2014 and is now a subsidiary of Hunan Liebao (Hunan Leopaard Motors). For a few years after the GAC-Changfeng separation, Anhui Liebao held the "LBA" production license for the entire group and had two operational factories, Chuzhou (Anhui) and Yongzhou (Hunan) under its fold. Today the "LBA" license is held by its immediate parent Hunan Liebao. The Yongzhou factory (see above) has been transferred to Hunan Liebao as well. The Chuzhou factory [also referred to as Hunan Liebao Chuzhou Branch] will be shut down.
Yes I see, those earlier dates of copyright and news, that you are referring to.
It's odd that it seemed to have changed, since I remember no sign of the flashy video that now plays over and over, on the homepage. I think you will agree that such a video is a bit of a departure from what we once new to be a rather conservative automaker.
Also, some manufacturers have multiple sites, but in this case there is only one, and so I am mistaken..., or the homepage alone was revised.
As to a reference to the new alliance, I have noticed that many Chinese automakers' websites seem slow in updating the "About us" status when a cooperative tie-up like this occurs.
Thank you for the update about a name change for Changfeng Yangzi, and its now dormant status.