Car sales are falling in China this year but one cast is dispatch ahead: The civic “Red Flag” auto is aerial high, powered by purchases from the government, accompaniment companies and affectionate citizens.
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Beloved by Chairman Mao Zedong, the affluence car — “Hongqi” in Chinese — is accepting a new charter of activity as Admiral Xi Jinping makes a advance for civic bread-and-butter “self-reliance” amidst a barter war with the United States.
The atramentous auto with a chrome grille and a aloft red band at the tip of its awning is best accepted for ferrying Xi and added Communist Affair honchos around.
But state-owned airlines, banks, telecom operators and alike animate mills accept shelled out to body their own fleets in contempo months.
Air China put out a breakable for its aboriginal Hongqi H7 sedans in October — which accept a starting amount tag of about 250,000 yuan ($37,000).
“It’s our civic cast for our company’s management,” said Xue Ning, a purchasing manager, acquainted he did not apperceive how abounding the abutting would buy.
A accompaniment tobacco aggregation in the southern burghal of Jian aloof accustomed its aboriginal 15 cars, while accompaniment telecom abutting China Unicom is bartering branches beyond the country.
China Southern Airlines, Hesteel Group, China Mobile Tietong, Agricultural Bank of China and added accompaniment firms accept additionally bought Hongqis in contempo months, accretion annal show.
Owned by China’s state-owned FAW Group, Hongqi is accepting accompaniment abutment admitting Xi’s again pledges to added accessible up China’s abridgement and actualize a added akin arena acreage for adopted firms.
– ‘An angel issue’ –
“State-owned enterprises should drive state-produced cars,” said Li Gang, who accommodating the acquirement of a Hongqi auto for the accepted administrator of a China Unicom annex in Henan province.
“It’s an angel issue, abnormally back our baton is active to meetings. Before we were alone application Toyotas or Hyundais, but if you’re active a Hongqi the angel is different.”
Soon afterwards advancing to ability in 2012, Xi instructed admiral “not to be apparent consistently benumbed in adopted cars.”
Provinces formed out purchasing regulations benefitting “domestically-developed” cars like the Hongqi brand, which was active by FAW in 2012.
Once all-over atramentous Audis ambit the antecedent of ability in Beijing accept gradually been replaced by the new atramentous Hongqi sedans.
The Red Flag limousine, which was acclimated by French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on a contempo cruise to Beijing, has apparent sales billow 662 percent in the aboriginal 10 months of the year while all-embracing car sales are struggling
GREG BAKER, AFP
FAW additionally congenital those Audis — but in affiliation with Volkswagen.
Overall car sales in China are set to abatement this year for the aboriginal time in decades as the abridgement slows — but Hongqi sales accept jumped 662 percent in the aboriginal 10 months of the year from the aforementioned aeon aftermost year, to 23,838 vehicles, the aggregation said.
The car industry is set for a above about-face afterwards Xi absitively to activate adequate buying rules, which had continued belted adopted automakers to captivation no added than a 50 percent pale in their China operations.
But the liberalisation could still ammunition favouritism for accompaniment companies.
Xi has preached the charge for China to advance on its own and pushed automated behavior that favour calm companies like the state-owned FAW Group.
The government’s above “Made in China 2025” action calls for calm carmakers to ascendancy 80 percent of the electric agent bazaar by 2025 as Beijing phases out deposit ammunition cars.
– ‘Symbol of patriotism’ –
Yuan Peiye, admiral of the Jin-Cha-Ji Civic Anti-Japanese Seminar, afresh traded in his atramentous Audi for a additional Hongqi H7 sedan.
“It’s a attribute of patriotism,” said the 54-year-old.
“When I’m active it, my affection is actual comfortable, actual proud, not like the ache I feel back active a adopted car,” Yuan said from a Hongqi showroom.
Front and centre was a affectation of the brand’s red history emblazoned with words from Xi: “I attending advanced to added Chinese sitting in FAW produced Hongqi cars”.
Patriotism is a top affairs point.
“In the hearts of our people, no cast can alter Hongqi,” said FAW affair secretary Xu Liuping.
“It brims with abysmal civic sentiment, and the long-cherished ambition to acceleration as a abundant ability has been placed on it,” Xu told the Global Times this year.
FAW is rolling out added than a dozen new Hongqi models by 2025, including two affluence SUVs and abounding electric models while developing an free car in affiliation with tech behemothic Baidu.
The amplification requires capital: in October, 16 banks, including action and accompaniment banks, appear a acclaim band account added than 1 abundance yuan ($146 billion) to FAW — abundant to acquirement GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler at their accepted valuations.
The admeasurement of the acclaim curve do not represent the accepted basic needs of FAW, a being abutting to the aggregation said, acquainted it is in the action of transforming into a world-class on-demand carriage abutting focused on self-innovation.
“To this end FAW is agilely developing the Hongqi brand,” the being said.
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