Hongqi (marque)

  (Redirected from Red Flag (automobile))

Hongqi (Chinese: 红旗; pinyin: Hóngqí) is a Chinese luxury car marque owned by the automaker FAW Car Company, itself a subsidiary of FAW Group. Hongqi was launched in 1959, making it the oldest Chinese passenger car marque.[1] In Chinese, hongqi means "red flag."

Native name
Founded1959; 63 years ago (1959)
Area served
  • Mainland China
  • UAE
  • Azerbaijan
  • Kuwait
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Cambodia
  • Norway
  • Japan (Imported by Yanase Motors)
  • Taiwan
ParentFAW Group

Originally, Hongqi models were only for high-ranking government officials.[2] They ceased production in 1981 but were later revived in the mid-1990s.


While the name has endured, the vehicles that bear the brand have varied significantly. Originally a dignitary's car,[3] the brand's later vehicles have ranged from serving as taxis[4] to low-end business sedans;[5] during the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China parade, the brand returned to its roots by carrying party leaders.[6] Today, party officials commonly prefer Audis.[7]

First generationEdit

Hongqi CA72

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 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 generationEdit

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 generationEdit

FAW began production of the third generation of Hongqi vehicles 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 generationEdit

Debuting by 2013, 30,000 units of the latest Hongqi model were initially expected to be produced,[17] though a year after launch, less than 5,000 had been sold.[18] 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.[19] A much more expensive model, the L5, was also on sale alongside the H7.[20]

Current productsEdit

Model Production Notes
L7[18] 2013–present[17]
L9[18] 2013–present[17]
L5 2014–present[21] Styling inspired by the CA770
LS7 2022–present
H5 2018–present Based on Mazda 6 (GJ)
E-HS3 2018–present
HS7 2019–present
HS5 2019–present Designed by Italdesign
E-HS9 2020–present
H9 2020–present
E-QM5 2021–present
H5 II 2022–present

Former productsEdit

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 1955 Imperial C-69 sedan[10]
1966–1981[11] CA770 series 红旗 Red Flag 1960s Imperial
1972–1979 CA774 红旗 Five prototypes were built but were not in production. Designed to replace the Hongqi CA770
1980–1987 CA630 红旗 A bus designed as VIP transport for the government, state-owned high-end hotels and travelling agencies. 19 seater load capacity, fitted with a 4.5 litre V8 engine producing 165 horsepower paired to a 4 speed manual gearbox.[22]
1982–1984 CA750/CA760 红旗 Red Flag A sedan made by Hongqi with Datsun 280C styling cues. Was produced to compete with the Shanghai SH760. A long wheelbase version was also available as the CA760 with only one made.[23]
1987 CA750F/CA760 红旗 Red Flag Dodge 600, did not enter production
1989 CA7225LH 红旗 Red Flag Audi 100
1992–1995 CA7560/CA7560LH 红旗 Red Flag
1993–1996 CA7221L 红旗 Red Flag Audi 100
1993–1998 CA1021U3 pickup 红旗 Red Flag Audi 100
1995–1997 CA7465C8 红旗 Red Flag Lincoln Town Car[24]
1996–2004[25][26] CA7200[27]/CA7220[25] 红旗 Red Flag Audi 100[27]
1996–2005[28] CA5020XJB/CA7228L/CA7226L[28] 红旗 Red Flag Audi 100[27]
1997 CA7220EL1 红旗 Red Flag Audi 100
1997 CA7220L1 红旗 Red Flag Audi 100
1998 CA7240L 红旗 Red Flag Audi 100
1998 CA7200E3L/CA7247L 红旗 Red Flag Audi 100
1998–2005[29] CA7460/CA7460L1/CA7460L2/CA7460L3[29] 红旗旗舰 Hongqi Flagship Lincoln Town Car[29]
1998 CA7220A9EL1/CA7220A9EL2/CA7220A9EL2A2 红旗 Red Flag Audi 100
1999 CA7220A9E 红旗 Red Flag Audi 100
2000–2006[3] CA7202E3/CA7242E6/CA7182E7[30] 红旗世纪星 Hongqi Century Star[13] Audi 100
2000–2005 CA7203E3L 红旗世纪星 Hongqi Century Star Audi 100
2001–2003[30] CA7180A2E/A3E 红旗明仕 Hongqi Mingshi Audi 100
2001–2003 CA7180A2EL1 红旗明仕 Hongqi Mingshi Audi 100
2001-2005 CA7202E3L1/CA7202E6L1 红旗世纪星 Hongqi Century Star Audi 100
2001–2005 CA7202A9EL3L2 红旗世纪星 Hongqi Century Star Audi 100
2002–2005 CA7202E6L 红旗世纪星 Hongqi Century Star Audi 100
2004 CA7400 红旗旗舰 Hongqi Flagship Remake of the Hongqi CA770 with a lowered roofline based on the 1998–2011 Lincoln Town Car. Prototype only
2006–2010[31] HQ3[32]/Shengshi[5]/HQ430[15] 红旗盛世 HQ3/Days of Prosperity/HQ430[15] Toyota Crown Majesta[8]
2009, 2015 CA7600L 红旗 Red Flag
2013–2021[17] H7[18]
2018 N501 Based on Audi A6L
2015–2017 LS5 Based on Toyota Land Cruiser J200

Concept carsEdit

A 2008 Hongqi SUV concept car
Hongqi S9 concept car (2019)

Hongqi will sometimes make 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.[33]

A Hongqi SUV concept was unveiled at the 2008 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition.[34]

At the 2015 Shanghai International Auto Exhibition, Hongqi displayed a concept SUV radically different from its 2008 entry.[35]

At the 2018 Beijing International Auto Exhibition, Hongqi unveiled the electric sports car E-Jing GT Concept.[36]

At the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, Hongqi unveiled the sports car S9 and the SUV E115.[37]

At the 2021 Shanghai International Auto Exhibition, Hongqi unveiled the luxury limousine L-Concept.[38]


Not strictly a concept car, the V12-powered Hongqi HQE was used by high-ranking official 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).[39] This model has since been shown at the 2010 Beijing Auto Show as the CA7600L.[40] It is equipped with a 300 kW (408 PS; 402 hp) 6.0 L V12 engine developed in-house.[40]


Similarly to the HQE, The Hongqi S9, is not strictly a concept car, it is set to start production in Italy with Silk-FAW,[41] a joint venture between the FAW group and American based design firm Silk EV. the S9 is luxury sports car powered by a combustion 4.0 L twin-turbo V8 engine associated with a hybrid system, providing it with an output of 1,381 hp. The production version of the S9 was introduced in 2021 Auto Shanghai.[42][43][44]

Relationship with BesturnEdit

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 new Besturn brand.[45] It was thought that giving the Hongqi brand more sales outlets would increase turnover.[46] At the 2010 Beijing Auto Show, Besturn models were shown "under the Hongqi naming series,"[47] and until 2011 the two brands both used the Hongqi "circled one" badging.[48]


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).[49] Hongqi sold 2,774 cars in 2014 and became the 72nd largest car brand in China.[50]

Overseas PresenceEdit

Hongqi has had a presence in Dubai since December 2018, with 20 vehicles of the H5 and H7 models sold for use in the 2019 NEXT summit.[51]

On December 30, 2020, Honqi exported 400 H9 and H5 sedans, HS7 and HS5 SUVs to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.[52]

In September 2021, Hongqi has launched in Norway.[53]

On February 1, 2022, Honqi launched in Vietnam with the E-HS9 and H9 being the first vehicle to be sold.[54] Honqi has a presence in Israel as of April 6, 2022 with the launch of the Hongqi E-HS9 under the Samelet Group.[55]

In Western cultureEdit

A 1978 Hongqi CA770 was featured in a 2017 episode of Jay Leno's Garage.[56]

The Hongqi L5 was reviewed by Jeremy Clarkson in a 2019 film for The Grand Tour taking place in China. Armed with western luxury cars, Clarkson and the other presenters sought to prove that western luxury cars are superior through a series of performance challenges.[57]


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  2. ^ a b The home team economist.com, Nov 13th 2008
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  7. ^ Chinese public revved up over BMW, Benz on gov't car list Archived 2012-11-07 at the Wayback Machine xinhuanet.com, 2009-06-13
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  13. ^ a b "Hongqi has been the Official Vehicle for the Congress Ten Years in Succession". FAW Group. 2 March 2005.
  14. ^ Fuel Saving Match of New Hongqi Mingshi Ended[permanent dead link] First Automobile Works official site, Aug 16, 2005 8:23 AM
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  30. ^ a b World of Cars 2006·2007. Warsaw, Poland: Media Connection Sp. z o.o. 2006. p. 231.
  31. ^ For 2006 start date, see A Moving Launch for FAW's New Hongqi HQ3 First Automobile Works official site, Dec 20, 2006
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  38. ^ Karkafiris, Michael. "The Hongqi L-Concept Is A Chinese Limo With A Chandelier And No Steering Wheel". Carscoops. Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  39. ^ "The Most Expensive Chinese Car, $1.2-Million Hongqi HQE, is Getting Ready for Volume Production". ChinaAutoWeb.com.
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  41. ^ Reuters (2021-05-03). "Silk-FAW to build sportscar plant in Italy's 'Motor Valley'". Reuters. Retrieved 2022-06-16.
  42. ^ "Hongqi Lands in Italy, Will Build S9 Hypercar at Ferrari's Home Turf". 4 February 2021.
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  44. ^ 2021 Hongqi S9 – 1,400 PS production hypercar to be unveiled at the Milan Design Week in early September
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  51. ^ Service, Xinhua Silk Road Information. "Xinhua Silk Road: China's iconic sedan brand Hongqi sparkles at Third NEXT Summit (Dubai 2019)". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved 2021-03-06.
  52. ^ "FAW Exports 400 Hongqi Vehicles to Saudi Arabia".
  53. ^ "Hongqi E-HS9 Enters Israeli Market, Next Stop of Their Global Expansion". 13 April 2022.
  54. ^ "Hongqi Launches E-HS9 and H9 Models in Vietnam".
  55. ^ "Hongqi E-HS9 Launched in Israel".
  56. ^ Jay Leno's Garage (2016-04-03), 1978 Hongqi CA770 - Jay Leno's Garage, retrieved 2019-05-07
  57. ^ "'Chinese food for thought' – The Grand Tour Series 3 Episode 6 Preview – MotoringBox". Retrieved 2019-04-19.

External linksEdit