In Chinese, the words “红旗” (hong qi) means “red flag.” It’s an enduring symbol of the Chinese communist revolution that led to the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.
First established in 1958 to build luxury limos for high-level Communist officials, Hongqi has now become China’s first indigenous ultra-luxury car marque — finding its niche as the purveyor of high-end cars to the country’s newly-wealthy.
At the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show, Hongqi debuted its long awaited LS5 SUV. It represents the brand’s take on the Range Rover — the official vehicle of English landed gentry.
Obviously, it’s ironic that a Chinese automaker closely associated with the communist party is now constructing a vehicle inspired by the preferred transportation of the Queen of England.
CarScoops, citing local news, has reported that the 17-foot long LS5 will be powered by a 381 horsepower twin-turbocharged V8 engine paired an 8-speed automatic transmission and an all-wheel-drive system.
This setup is expected to allow the 6,300 pound beast to hit 62 mph in 8.1 seconds, with a top speed of 137 mph. Although those numbers are not spectacular, they do indicate that the LS5 could be a very capable vehicle.
Hongqi’s entry into the luxury SUV market is indicative of China’s demand for high-end executive transport — and evidence that China knows the level of competition it’s up against globally.
In fact, the world’s luxury SUV masters have all doubled down on China with BMW, Mercedes, Land Rover, Audi, and Cadillac all pushing for more share in the Chinese market. Heck, even Volvo has jumped into the fray with its new XC90 Excellence SUV.
The brand — now a subsidiary of Chinese automotive giant FAW Group — has experienced a renaissance over the past decade. While Hongqi can still count of the Chinese Government for its presidential limousine orders, private owners have also stepped up to buy the car.
Last year, Hongqi made waves when a Chinese businessman ordered one of its V12-powered L5 luxury sedans for a whopping $US800,000.
No word when the LS5 will hit showrooms or what kind of price tag the luxury SUV will command. But we do know that a 2015 Range Rover LWB V8 Supercharged retails for a jaw-dropping $US590,000 in China.