It’s not just Panthers that get some love around these parts. TTAC contributors Murilee Martin and Tycho de Feyter have both expressed admiration for the Hongqi CA770 “Red Flag” limousines made by China’s FAW (formerly First Automotive Works) and used as state automobiles from the mid 1960s into the 1980s. A few years back, FAW introduced the massive, 21 ft long Hongqi L9 (aka CA7600L), with styling heavily influenced by the vintage Red Flag limos. Since then, a slightly shorter version, the L7, has been used for foreign heads of state when visiting China. Last year the L7 went on sale to the public for the first time when a Red Flag dealership opened in Beijing’s elite Jinbao shopping district. Now, even a greater number of wealthy Chinese will be able to show up government officials in their mere Audi A6s. At the recent Beijing auto show FAW introduced yet a smaller version of the limousine, the L5, to the retail market and businessman Wang Zhonghua, who owns a chain of furniture malls in China, paid $4.9 million yuan, about 800,000 U.S. dollars, for the first one. (Read More…)
In 2012, Volkswagen began research into starting a budget brand in the vein of Datsun and intended rival Dacia, with the aim of having a full lineup ready for sale by 2015. Two years later, the budget brand has hit a budget wall, and that’s only the start.
More than 100 senior managers of China’s FAW have been questioned and some have been detained over and unfolding scandal that involves more than 10 billion yuan ($1.61 billion) in assets that went missing. (Read More…)
Max Warburton and his team. Warburton, of Bernstein Research, assembled a team to interview over 40 auto executives in China (both Chinese and foreign-born) and even bought two Chinese vehicles from Geely and Great Wall. Warburton had them shipped to Europe, where they were taken to a test track, driven extensively and then taken apart by engineers and automotive consultants. And it was far from pretty.
In February 1991, Volkswagen signed its second Chinese joint venture deal with First Automobile Works (FAW) in frigid Changchun in Northern China. This deal, and the older JV with SAIC turned into the cornerstone of Volkswagen’s world domination plans. In no country does Volkswagen sell more cars than in China – and it wants to double the current number in a few years. Written for a 25 year term, the joint venture with FAW would end in 2016. It won’t. It has been extended for another 25 years.
The old contract is still good for a few years, so why the rush? Well, there was that other matter. (Read More…)
It’s one of those Tuesday afternoons here in Beijing. The air is barely breathable, and somewhere, a hammer drill is duking it out with a concrete ceiling. Time for another installment of Tycho’s Illustrated History Of Chinese Cars. Today we have a very interesting Chinese car. It’s a 1983 Dodge 600 sedan, dressed-up as a Hongqi CA750F. How did it get into China? (Read More…)
Hongqi, or Red Flag, is China’s most famous automotive brand. Owner of the Hongqi-brand is First Auto Works, or FAW. Hongqi always was, and sometimes still is, the car for the country’s leaders – communist party bosses, and the car for the very influential. A Red Flag is not for the very rich – they take a red Ferrari, or a simple black Maybach. The Hongqi was strictly government business. Hongqi’s most famous cars are the CA 770-series, and the Audi-based limousines and parade cars.
There is, however, another less well known chapter in Hongqi’s history: a tie up with good old Lincoln from the USA in the 1990′s and early 00′s. This article will show what cars came out of this interesting marriage.
On the first picture is the first Hongqi CA7460 rolling off the line at the factory in Changchun, Jilin province. It was November 10, 1998. (Read More…)
Conventional wisdom says that the Chinese will suck all the know-how out of their foreign joint venture partners, and once they are through with them, they’ll discard them like Dracula a bloodless virgin. As a thank you, the Chinese will flood foreign countries with cheap Chinese cars. The trouble with conventional wisdom is that it is rarely true, or wise. Actually, the Chinese are now worried that the foreigners amass too much power. “Foreign car producers have begun to take more control of their joint ventures in China, sidelining their Chinese counterparts from business partners to factory providers,” China Daily writes today. China Daily is owned by the Chinese government. (Read More…)