|Parent||FAW Car Company|
|Literal meaning||Red flag|
First manufactured in 1958, the original Hongqi models were only for high-ranking party elite and remained in production until 1981. The current Hongqi range comprises the H7 (an executive car based on the Toyota Crown platform), L5, L7 and L9.
While the name has endured, the vehicles that bear the brand have been surprisingly varied. The erstwhile dignitary's car has become a taxi, a cut-rate businessman's sedan, and during the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China parade, returned to its roots and participated by carrying party leaders. If there is a common thread linking the disparate Hongqi cars other than the brand name, it may be the fact that nearly all are based on foreign technology. Today, party officials commonly prefer Audis.
Introduced on August 1, 1958, the first Hongqi was the CA72. By September, a convertible version intended to be used by dignitaries in National Day parades had appeared. The CA72's design was based on a 1955 Chrysler. From the beginning, the full-size Hongqi was equipped with a 147 kW (200 PS; 197 hp) V8 engine. The grille was based on a traditional design of a Chinese fan, and still remains in use on Hongqis today.
The modernized CA770 is the Hongqi model that defines the brand. First introduced in 1963, it remained in production until 1980 albeit in limited numbers. In 1965 a lengthened version with three rows of seats appeared, and by 1969 an armored version (CA772) was seen. A shortened version was also built in small numbers in the seventies. Around 1,600 V8-engined Hongqis were built in total. Although Chairman Mao had not taken a ride in a Hongqi until Nixon's 1972 visit, he did take a personal interest in the cars from the beginning.
Between 1995 and 2006, foreign products were manufactured in China and sold as Hongqi models. These include the Audi 100 (CA7200/CA7220) and the Lincoln Town Car (CA7460). There were two Audi 100-based versions—the more luxurious "Century Star" and the smaller (1.8-litre) Hongqi Mingshi
FAW began production of the latest Hongqi to go on sale in 2006. Named the HQ3 and based on the Toyota Crown Majesta, it saw little market success. First year sales totaled near 500, and while the target for the second year was 1,400 units, the HQ3 would not be profitable until annual sales of 5,000 were reached—something that may never have happened. By October 2008 the price was reduced considerably and the name changed to Shengshi (“Days of Prosperity") in order to better appeal to private buyers. Sales during the first half of 2008 were all from inventory and totaled 788.
At the 2005 Shanghai International Auto Exhibition a Hongqi HQD concept car was displayed. In 2009 First Automobile Works planned to release the Hongqi HQE its design based on that of the 2005 concept.
The HQE was used by high-ranking Hu Jintao during parades celebrating the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China. It appeared on an official list of upcoming models in 2010 with a retail price of 1.2 million US dollars (which would have made it the most expensive Chinese-built car ever).
This model has since been shown at the 2010 Beijing Auto Show as the CA7600L. It is equipped with a 300 kW (408 PS; 402 hp) 6.0 L V12 engine developed in-house. The short-wheelbase version of the HQE called the L7 entered production in 2013.
Debuting by 2013, 30,000 units of the latest Hongqi model are expected to be initially produced. The car, named the H7, is developed from the HQ3 platform and may be joined by other Hongqi models. Some sales will be through government procurement; the car is billed as "the official car for minister-level officials".
|Year||Model||Chinese name||English name||Platform|
|1958||Dongfeng CA71||东风||East Wind||Simca Vedette body and chassis, Mercedes-Benz 190 engine|
|1958||CA72||红旗||Red Flag||A 1955 Chrysler model|
|1963-1980||CA770 series||红旗||Red Flag|
|1995||CA7200/CA7220||红旗||Red Flag||Audi 100|
|1998||CA7460/CA7460L2||红旗旗舰||Hongqi Limousine||Lincoln Town Car|
|2000||CA7202E3/CA7242E6/CA7182E7||红旗世纪星||Hongqi Century Star||Audi 100|
|In production as of 2001||CA7180A2E/A3E||红旗明仕||Hongqi Mingshi||Audi 100|
|2006||Hongqi HQ3/Shengshi/HQ430||红旗盛世||Red Flag HQ3/Days of Prosperity/HQ430||Toyota Crown Majesta|
|Shown in 2009||Hongqi HQE/Hongqi CA7600L||红旗HQE||Red Flag HQE||The CA7600L as seen in 2009 is self-developed, but it is thought that the production version HQE will receive a chassis derived from that of the Toyota Landcruiser Prado.|
Hongqi concept cars include the Hongqi HQD, which was first shown at the 2005 Shanghai International Auto Exhibition, and the Hongqi SUV concept, which was unveiled at the 2008 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition.
Relationship with Besturn
Hongqi and another FAW Group brand, Besturn, have exhibited some overlap. In 2008, due to flagging sales, Hongqi showrooms were merged with those of the then recently developed Besturn brand. It was thought that giving the Hongqi brand more sales outlets would increase turnover. At the 2010 Beijing Auto Show Besturn models were shown "under the Hongqi naming series", and until 2011 the two brands both used the Hongqi badging.
A total of 2,534 Hongqi vehicles were sold in China in 2013, making it the 67th largest-selling car brand in the country in that year (and the 41st largest-selling Chinese brand).
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- For shared badging, see FAW to give B50 a new grill and logo for 2011? chinacartimes.com, December 28, 2010
- For 2011 Besturn re-badging, see Besturn brands to carry the FAW logo from now on chinacartimes.com,m May 24, 2011 at 9:21 pm
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