FILE PHOTO: The logo of FAW Group car brand Hongqi, Chinese for Red Flag, is pictured at its booth during the Auto China 2016 auto show in Beijing, China April 26, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s FAW Group is considering setting a higher sales target for Chairman Mao Zedong’s carmaker of choice, Hongqi, or Red Flag, in coming years as its sales surge, its chairman said on Wednesday.
FAW chairman Xu Liuping told an industry conference in Wuhan that thanks to new models, FAW sold 70,000 Hongqi cars in the first six months this year, up 111% from a year earlier, even as overall market sank by 17% between January and June.
FAW will stick to its sales target for Hongqi this year and is considering setting a more aggressive target for the following years, Xu said.
Xu in January said Hongqi aims to sell 200,000 units this year, 400,000 units in 2022 and 600,000 units in 2025, and grow them further to 1 million cars in the next decade.
For next year, FAW hopes to at least double its sales, Xu said. A presentation slide showed FAW was considering lifting its sales target for 2022 to 500,000-600,000 cars and 700,000-800,000 cars in 2025.
“Targets have not yet been finalised and we are still researching the market,” Xu added.
Hongqi, based in the northeastern city of Changchun, has undergone several revamps over the decades, falling out of favour for a period in the 1980s.
But the automaker has seen a recent revival amid a national push to promote Chinese brands and has been President Xi Jinping’s ride of choice during recent military parades.
Regarded as a cultural symbol of China’s ruling Communist Party, Hongqi in 2018 hired former Rolls-Royce designer Giles Taylor, whose works include Rolls-Royce’s Phantom VIII limousine and the brand’s first sport-utility vehicle model Cullinan, to head its design team in Munich.
Reporting by Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh; Editing by Lincoln Feast.