China's national car brand Hongqi, or red flag, that the nation's leaders often ride around in, will now be seen in ordinary garages and car parks. New marketing strategies are reviving the old brand.
L5 is a customized top luxury model of Hongqi, priced at millions of RMB. (Photo: CGTN)
Hongqi’s headquarters, the China First Automobile Workshop, is located in Changchun, capital of northeastern China’s Jilin Province. The company built a Hongqi Car Cultural Exhibition Hall in the city, showcasing different Hongqi cars made over the years.
It's been 61 years since the first Hongqi car was built. Big changes have taken place since the brand was born. Now this iconic national brand is set to hit the private car market with a new fashionable look and advanced technology.
In the past, Hongqi only had two models for sale. Since last year, they have launched four new models; and this year, sales have really taken off, thanks not only to its improved look but the advanced technology it uses.
Li Jincheng is the chief expert of Research and Development General Institute of China Faw Group. He’s been working in the group for three decades.
He revealed, “Decades ago, we were simply imitating other brands. But now China has set stricter standards for emissions and fuel consumption than other countries. We have to make innovations. Now our self-produced engine enjoys high efficiency and low emissions. It’s among the world-leading technologies.”
Hongqi’s research and development department has largely expanded, covering Beijing and Shanghai, as well as Munich in Germany and the Silicon Valley in the U.S.
“We’ve been developing cutting-edge technologies in recent years, including the Intelligent Connected Vehicle and automatic driving. They will have fast development as 5G technology develops. And we’ve putting more and more talents in these fields,” said Li.
Hongqi is also putting more efforts into developing new energy vehicles. Last year, it launched its first electric car. And the brand plans to raise the market share of electric cars significantly, aiming to launch 15 more types of electric vehicles by 2025.