A report on China Daily this morning stated that Chinese luxury automaker and Audi rival Hongqi will be coming out with an SUV by 2016, as well as a hybrid version of its H7 model—an announcement that signals the continuation of the company’s concerted effort to compete with foreign luxury auto brands for the attention of both government officials and the general public. After the company previously announced a 2014 market debut of a model that’s been in the works for years, it is clear that the company is in no hurry when it comes to contending with the foreign brands that lead the SUV market.
According to the story:
“Hongqi hybrid H7 and Hongqi SUV are now in development, and will probably debut in 2016,” said Guo Shijun, Hongqi business department’s secretary at First Automobile Works Car Corp.
As for future product plans, “Hongqi will introduce a lineup of models, embracing three grades—C, D, and E. Hongqi H7 belongs to grade C, and we will further develop hybrid cars and SUVs,” Qq.com reported, citing Guo.
As the government cracks down on official use of foreign luxury vehicles with a particular focus on those with large fuel tanks, Hongqi has recently been stepping up its efforts to contend with Audi, the main car brand of choice for bureaucrats in the country.
Audi also currently dominates the luxury SUV market in China, and Hongqi hopes to gain much broader appeal among the general public in addition to becoming the official car of choice. The Chinese government hopes for this outcome as well, and according to the somewhat less-than-objective wording of today’s state-run news report,
Hongqi introduced H7 to the market on May 30, whose outstanding appearance received wide appreciation from customers. Zhang Xiaojun, general manager of FAW Car Marketing Corp, said that before the debut, Hongqi had already sold nearly 1,000 units to the government market.
Currently, the top priority is to attract individual consumers. Zhang indicated that Hongqi’s target consumers are those who love Chinese culture and like models with traditional Chinese characteristics.
Hongqi’s SUV plans have been in the works for years now—the automaker debuted a luxury SUV concept car in Beijing back in 2008, and it is unclear why the company is delaying its release of this model after previous state media reports announced a 2014 market debut.