The Hongqi has arrived, and with it the greater hopes that powerful Chinese will ride in symbols of Chinese power. The Honqi L5 sedan produced by China's FAW Group, first unveiled last year (and called the L9 at the time), is - in some circles - intended to be among the homegrown replacements for the millions of foreign luxury cars the Chinese government purchases for important officials. Shown at this year's Beijing Motor Show in production guise and now available to civilians as well, a Chines
Hongqi means "Red Flag," and the sub-brand of Chinese automaker FAW was created in the 1950s to build cars for leaders of the nation known by its red flag. In those early days Hongqi designers took inspiration from what looks to be fifties Chevrolets; these days they've kept a little of the Chevrolet but look more the way of England. The L9 executive sedan about the length of a Rolls-Royce Phantom – on Mercedes S-Class-like wheels – and not much cheaper than the Rolls, to boot.
When you think of V12 engines, what typically comes to mind? German luxury sedans? Italian exotics? Think again: Chinese automaker FAW has taken the wraps off a new 6-liter V12 that will begin production in about a year from now. The engine will drive the new Hongqi HQE limousine, China's homegrown take on the Rolls-Royce Phantom previewed by the HQD concept car at the 2005 Shanghai Auto Show.
China's FAW just debuted the Red Flagship in its Hongqi (Red Flag) lineup. Rejuvenating one of China's oldest upscale car names, the new HQ3 sedan is Red Flag's take on the Toyota Crown Majesta. The Hongqi brand was generally FAW's outlet for their large luxury cars, which were intended for only the elite. Most Hongqi models were based on older Audi designs, so this Toyota based HQ3 will be a huge improvement. Further encouraging news is the fact that FAW has partnerships with not only Toyota, b