By on February 19, 2010

Maisara Gad writes in from Egypt to register his unhappiness with a recently purchased Lifan 520 which blew its gearbox at 70 km/hr.

Do you Call this a car ? Since i got this JUNK and i have been allways in problems .. the car is full of problems .. check out the web site i started to let the world see how junk car you sell to the public.. i wouldnt stop showing every one this junk car

Yes, well it is a 20-year-old Citroen ZX with the latest in Chinese styling and interior work. With that kind of pedigree, it’s hard to have too many expectations. Still, Chinese automakers who thought that success in foreign markets is as easy as improving crash test videos on Youtube should take note.

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15 Comments on “Reader Mail: Recall Lifan!...”

  • avatar

    Looks like a late-model car that’s had a very rough life. Not sure how much of the damage is due to poor quality vs. rough operating conditions.

  • avatar
    Mr Carpenter

    Sadly, if one looks at virtually 90% of products from China with unbiased eyes, it seems that the quality is about where Japan’s was when I was a little kid in the 1960’s – crap.

    The Japanese were able to make top-flight (in fact often best in the world) products within 10 to 20 years, but I am not so confident in the Chinese.

    We’ll see.

    In the meanwhile, I wouldn’t touch a car built by the Chinese.

    At least, intentionally.

    Though tons of Americans and Canadians have been given that wonderous opportunity by General Motors which began manufacturing the plastic bodied Buick Rendezvous and Pontiac Aztek in Mexico – with Chinese built engines about 8 years ago.

    Go look and see what the “wonderous” reputation that these cars have and you’ll see some of the reasons that GM got into the fix they did.

    At least had GM management owned a brain cell between them, when they shipped the designs and presumably tooling to China to manufacture the engines for these things, they could have fixed the ongoing intake manifold gasket and head gasket problems….

    But nooooooo……

    Morons. Imbeciles.

    Tell me again why I as an American taxpayer should be forced to pay for the bailout of these auto companies?

  • avatar

    just stumbled on this after seeing this post… sort of related:

  • avatar

    Lifan. Yeah, I know of them. Scooters and 200cc motorcycles. Run away, real fast now. If you got a Lifan 200cc motorcycle that shifted stiffly, then you were going to have a self destructing transmission on your hands in the first 1000km. And the 50cc scooters had a nasty propensity for catching fire from electrical shorts. The shop where I worked sold one, ended up giving the customer a Jinan Qingqi scooter in its place after the fire (first week).

    Needless to say, the shop wants nothing to do with the brand, and was glad they only had those first two sales. Jinan Qingqi, on the other hand, have turned out to be a quality product over the last three years.

    Which goes to show that the Chinese CAN make a quality product. You just have to pick carefully among the brands.

  • avatar

    If u going to copy somebody’s design, u need to follow the spec not just the dimension alone, but also the innards.
    All it need is one of these negative publicity, it can set u back decades.
    Or their car designed to be driven slowly at Escargot pace, so the excess heat was never an issue.
    Or the trans oil cooler is not needed too.

    My Neighbour has a moped from Middle Kingdom too, but he said the kick start gear had been stripped!
    Thats kind of prematurely, as the bike was only few mths old.
    My old Honda CT90 was just as old as texas was a republic, didnt do that either.

  • avatar
    Mr Carpenter

    Once, “way back in the stone ages” of the early 1970’s, I decided as a teenager that I needed a cheap set of two wheels to get back and forth to college. CHEAP being the operative word. Instead of used junk, I snapped up a NOS (new old stock) Lambretta scooter.

    Except this was post-Italy production; it was a Lambretta Servetta, built in Spain, after the Italians gave up on the product / licensed it for production by a collaborative company / concessionaire.

    Despite supposedly being built using Lambretta’s designs and even tooling, the thing was nothing but trouble. (And yes, even Lambrettas from Italy were not perfect but they weren’t THAT bad in the pre-Japanese bikes were nearly perfect and drove everyone else out of biz days).

    So my take is this; some cultures seem to be better equipped at manufacturing certain types of goods.

    The Chinese appear to be good at building cars. As long as they are 1:16, 1:25 or 1:43 scale, that is.

    This was borne out by my cousin who was sent by a certain US glass company about 2 1/2 decades ago, to help a part-owned subsidiary company in Taiwan-China. He said the workforce were entirely clueless and couldn’t be taught. His words.

  • avatar

    It does look like crap, but I don’t think he can blame a dirty, sand-filled air filter on the OEM. Looks like he’s been thrashing this thing across the desert.

  • avatar

    BYD has a plugin hybrid already out, F3DM, supposedly 40miles per charge. Rather “100 km per charge is based on a constant speed of 50 km/h” (31 mph)

    Review I found online a year ago tested it in China. It got 6 miles. Said the battery quality control is non-existent (now I know its because they’re handmade).

  • avatar

    I wonder if he test drove the car before he bought it. The Lifan might have been a turd, but I wonder about his judgement when he signed the dotted line.

  • avatar

    I can’t imagine why GM and Ford aren’t reverse engineering Chinese cars and blatantly copying them.

  • avatar

    I had a Lifan copy of a Honda Trail 70. One thing I know for certain is that Loctite was never purchased by that factory. After the first ride, I spent a weekend with a bottle of loctite and a torque wrench tightening up all the bolts that were loose from manufacture. Of course the torque settings were just guesses based on what the Honda guys were doing, but I figured that Honda new better in 1975 than Lifan did in 2005.

  • avatar

    My sympathies to Maisara Gad. It could happen to anybody – I had a new Honda which was a lemon from day one.

    In the US you can get a quality car for $12000 US. For a quick look I found a new 2010 Fiat Punto for about $16000 US:

    I say dump the Lifan and get a real car.

  • avatar

    It is funny how the car’s rear badge proudly proclaims “520” in BMW-esque font style.

    Oh yes, the badge makes the care!

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