Hongqi (marque)

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Hongqi 红旗
Industry Automotive
Founded 1958
Headquarters Changchun, Jilin, China
Products Automobiles
Owner FAW Group
Parent FAW Car Company
Website faw-hongqi.com.cn (Chinese)
Simplified Chinese 红旗
Traditional Chinese 紅旗
Literal meaning Red flag

Hongqi is a Chinese luxury car marque owned by the automaker FAW Car Company, itself a subsidiary of FAW Group. Hongqi was launched in 1958, making it the oldest Chinese passenger car marque.[1]

Original Hongqi models were only for high-ranking government officials[2] and remained in production until 1981. The brand was revived in the mid-1990s.


In Chinese hongqi means "red flag", a Communist Chinese cultural symbol.[2]


While the name has endured, the vehicles that bear the brand have been surprisingly varied. The erstwhile dignitary's car[3] has become a taxi,[4] a cut-rate businessman's sedan,[5] and during the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China parade, returned to its roots and participated by carrying party leaders.[6] If there is a common thread linking the disparate Hongqi cars besides brand name, it may be the fact that nearly all are based on modern technology. Today, party officials commonly prefer Audis.[7]

First generation[edit]

The original Hongqi cars were a luxury item used for the transport of foreign dignitaries[3] and the party elite.[2] Although Chairman Mao claimed not to have been driven in a Hongqi until Nixon's 1972 visit, he did take a personal interest in the cars from the beginning.[8]

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.[9] The CA72's design was based on a 1955 Chrysler.[10] From the beginning, the full-size Hongqi was equipped with a 147 kW (200 PS; 197 hp) V8 engine.[9] The grille was based on a traditional design of a Chinese fan, and still remains in use on Hongqis today.

First introduced in 1963, the CA770 model remained in production until 1980 albeit in limited numbers. Around 1,600 of these V8-engined Hongqis were built in total,[11] and over the years various versions were released including a 1965 long-wheelbase model with three rows of seats and a 1969 armored version (CA772).[9]

Second generation[edit]

Audi 100-based CA7200/CA7220

Between 1995 and 2006,[citation needed] foreign products were manufactured in China and sold as Hongqi models. These included the Audi 100[12] (CA7200/CA7220) and the Lincoln Town Car[10] (CA7460). There were two Audi 100-based versions—the more luxurious "Century Star"[13] and the smaller (1.8-litre) Hongqi Mingshi.[14]

Third generation[edit]

FAW began production of the latest Hongqi to go on sale in 2006.[15] 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[16]—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.[5] Sales during the first half of 2008 were all from inventory and totaled 788.[5]

Fourth generation[edit]

Debuting by 2013, 30,000 units of the latest Hongqi model were initially expected to be produced[17] although a year after launch, less than 5,000 had been sold.[18][19] Sales are through government procurement; the car is billed as "the official car for minister-level officials".[17] In 2014, the People's Liberation Army purchased at least 1,000 H7 models.[20] A much more expensive model, the L5, was also on sale alongside the H7.[21]


Production dates Model designation Model name (Chinese) Model name (English) Platform
1958[3] Dongfeng CA71[3] 东风 East Wind[8] Simca Vedette body and chassis, Mercedes-Benz 190 engine[3]
1958-1965 CA72 红旗 Red Flag A 1955 Imperial Four Door sedan[10]
1963-1980[11] CA770 series 红旗 Red Flag
1980-1987 Hongqi CA630 红旗
1987 CA750F 红旗 Red Flag Dodge 600
1988-2005[22] CA7200[23]/CA7220[22] 红旗 Red Flag Audi 100[23]
1993-1998 CA1021 pickup 红旗 Red Flag Audi 100
1995-1997 Hongqi CA7465 红旗 Red Flag Lincoln Town Car
1998-2005[24] CA7460/CA7460L2[24] 红旗旗舰 Hongqi Limousine[25] Lincoln Town Car[24]
2000-2005[3] CA7202E3/CA7242E6/CA7182E7[26] 红旗世纪星 Hongqi Century Star[13] Audi 100
2001-2006[26] CA7180A2E/A3E 红旗明仕 Hongqi Mingshi Audi 100
2006-2010[27] Hongqi HQ3[28]/Shengshi[5]/HQ430[15] 红旗盛世 HQ3/Days of Prosperity/HQ430[15] Toyota Crown Majesta[8]

Current products[edit]

Production dates Model designation Model name (Chinese) Model name (English) Platform
2013–present[17] Hongqi H7[19] 红旗H7 H7 Toyota Crown[19]
2014–present[29] Hongqi L5 红旗L5 L5
Hongqi CA72 (1959) 
Hongqi CA770 (1967) 
Hongqi CA774 (1974) 
Hongqi CA7180A2E (2005) 
Hongqi CA7460 (1998) 
Hongqi HQ3 (2006) 
Hongqi H7 (2012) 
Hongqi L5 (2014) 

Concept cars[edit]

A 2008 Hongqi SUV concept car

Hongqi will sometimes put in an appearance at autoshows held on Chinese soil showing off a concept car that attracts attention.

At the 2005 Shanghai International Auto Exhibition, a Hongqi HQD concept car was displayed.[30]

A Hongqi SUV concept was unveiled at the 2008 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition.[31]

At the 2015 Shanghai International Auto Exhibition, Hongqi displayed a concept SUV radically different from its 2008 entry.[32]


Not strictly a concept car, the V12 powered HQE was used by high-ranking Hu Jintao during parades celebrating the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China.[6] 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 in history).[33] This model has since been shown at the 2010 Beijing Auto Show as the CA7600L.[34] It is equipped with a 300 kW (408 PS; 402 hp) 6.0 L V12 engine developed in-house.[34]

Relationship with Besturn[edit]

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.[35] It was thought that giving the Hongqi brand more sales outlets would increase turnover.[36] At the 2010 Beijing Auto Show Besturn models were shown "under the Hongqi naming series",[37] and until 2011 the two brands both used the Hongqi "circled one" badging.[38]


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).[39] Hongqi sold 2,774 cars in 2014 and became the 72nd largest-selling car brand of China.[40]


  1. ^ About FAW > Key Events First Automobile Works official site
  2. ^ a b c The home team economist.com, Nov 13th 2008
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Hongqi Luxury Car". faw.com.cn. FAW Group. Archived from the original on Jun 18, 2004. 
  4. ^ Hongqi Mingshi Enters Daqing Taxi Market First Automobile Works official site, Oct 13, 2005
  5. ^ a b c d Ally (2008-10-09). "FAW Car cuts price of luxury HQ3 sedans hugely". Gasgoo.com. 
  6. ^ a b Unveiling the President's car at Chinese National Day military parade xinhuanet.com, 2009-10-01
  7. ^ Chinese public revved up over BMW, Benz on gov't car list xinhuanet.com, 2009-06-13
  8. ^ a b c Family's driving ambition chinadaily.com.cn, 2007-04-04
  9. ^ a b c "Hongqi Brand". First Automobile Works. Retrieved 2011-04-17. 
  10. ^ a b c "FAW Announces Plan to Revive Hongqi Limousines". ChinaAutoWeb.com. August 26, 2010. 
  11. ^ a b Piazzi, Giuseppe; Sidoli, Carlo (January 1985). "Sognando l'Auto" [Dreaming of the Car]. Quattroruote (in Italian). Milan, Italy: Editoriale Domus. 30 (351): 51. 
  12. ^ Homegrown auto industry has bit between teeth xinhuanet.com, 2006-11-24
  13. ^ a b Hongqi has been the Official Vehicle for the Congress Ten Years in Succession First Automobile Works official site, Mar 02, 2005
  14. ^ Fuel Saving Match of New Hongqi Mingshi Ended First Automobile Works official site, Aug 16, 2005 8:23 AM
  15. ^ a b c Special Supplement: Hongqi seeks to build global premium auto brand chinadaily.com.cn, 2007-11-26
  16. ^ Gao, George (2008-05-12). "Hongqi to launch a new model each year, starting with HQE". Gasgoo.com. 
  17. ^ a b c "Mao's Red Flag Returning To Drive China Leaders From Audi: Cars". bloomberg.com. Bloomberg LP. Feb 27, 2012. Retrieved July 5, 2012. 
  18. ^ Fei, Liang (11 Nov 2014). "Hongqi L5 under spotlight at APEC meeting". globaltimes.cn. Global Times. Retrieved 21 May 2015. 
  19. ^ a b c Lienert, Paul (Apr 25, 2012). "FAW's Hongqi Shows Two New Luxury Sedans: 2012 Beijing Auto Show". insideline.com. Edmunds.com. Archived from the original on Nov 12, 2012. Retrieved July 5, 2012. 
  20. ^ Huifeng, He (19 May 2014). "Domestic car brand Hongqi sells 1,000 cars to Chinese military". scmp.com. South China Morning Post. Retrieved 19 May 2014. 
  21. ^ "$803,300 Chinese Car Goes on Sale". bloomberg.com. Bloomberg LP. Apr 19, 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2014. 
  22. ^ a b Chinese JVs like to build native sub-brands chinacartimes.com, January 10, 2011
  23. ^ a b Autosoviet: CHINESE CARS digilander.libero.it
  24. ^ a b c Spotted in China: FAW-Hongqi CA7460 the tycho.com, May 27, 2010[dead link]
  25. ^ Hongqi Limousine First Automobile Works official site
  26. ^ a b World of Cars 2006·2007. Warsaw, Poland: Media Connection Sp. z o.o. 2006. p. 231. 
  27. ^ For 2006 start date, see A Moving Launch for FAW's New Hongqi HQ3 First Automobile Works official site, Dec 20, 2006
  28. ^ A Moving Launch for FAW's New Hongqi HQ3 First Automobile Works official site, Dec 20, 2006
  29. ^ Rong, Blake Z (April 26, 2014). "$800,000 Hongqi L5 is the most expensive Chinese car you can buy". Autoweek. Yahoo! Autos. Retrieved 21 May 2015. 
  30. ^ First Automobile Works official site, Jun 22, 2005
  31. ^ "FAW Hongqi SUV concept unveiled at Beijing show". Automotive World. 21 April 2008. Retrieved 26 February 2014. 
  32. ^ Halas, John (21 April 2015). "Hongqi LS5 Is Something Like China's Range Rover For The Rich". carscoops.com. Carscoop & Carscoops. Retrieved 10 April 2016. 
  33. ^ "The Most Expensive Chinese Car, $1.2-Million Hongqi HQE, is Getting Ready for Volume Production". ChinaAutoWeb.com. 
  34. ^ a b Jurnecka, Rory (2010-04-23). "2010 Beijing: FAW Red Flag Limo is Chinese for Old-School Luxury". Wide Open Throttle. Motor Trend. 
  35. ^ AW Car to merge Hongqi, Besturn sales networks gasgoo.com, July 30, 2008
  36. ^ FAW mulls merging Besturn, Xiali sales networks By George Gao. gasgoo.com, October 27, 2008
  37. ^ "Besturn B90 Sedan spotted out testing". China Car Times. 2010-10-27. 
  38. ^ For shared badging, see FAW to give B50 a new grill and logo for 2011? chinacartimes.com, December 28, 2010
  39. ^ "2013 Passenger Vehicle Sales by Brand". China Auto Web. 15 January 2014. Retrieved 4 March 2014. 
  40. ^ http://db.auto.sohu.com/cxdata/index.html?page=/brand_144/salesbrand.shtml&mode=brand&id=144

External links[edit]