China’s Hongqi cars have been spotted in Beijing as the company has been selected as the official car for APEC guests. CCTV America’s Guan Yang reported this story from Beijing.
Hongqi, which means “red flag”, has been an iconic Chinese brand since 1958 when it was first manufactured under the direction of Chairman Mao Zedong. The unique hubcaps and flag holders were specifically designed for transporting foreign dignitaries and elite party members.
The manufacturer is currently fighting to bring back the Hongqi Limousine as more foreign producers, such as Mercedes and Audi, enter the Chinese market.
Hongqi is shifting from its roots as a state-owned car manufacturer to the private luxury car sector. The H7 series is the first to make it to market which will compete with the Audi A6.
“For 37 years, our company has been serving important guests from foreign countries,” said driver Zhaung Hang Jonghui. “Before, most of our cars were foreign made, but at this event, all the cars are made by domestic producers.”
Production of the gas-guzzling ‘red flag’ were halted due to oil price issues in the 1980s. The manufacturer tried to bring back the Hongqi three times over the past 30 years. It has now put its hopes in the newly launched H7 saloon and the ultimate luxury L5.
“Some people think if there is a common thread linking the disparate Hongqi cars besides brand name, it may be the fact that nearly all were based on foreign technology,” said Hu Bing, a Hongqui dealership consultant. “But the launch of these two series is putting an end on that.”