Previously we didn’t usually think of China producing a luxury style car like this 1978 Hongqi CA 770 that was bought into Jay Leno’s garage 2 weeks ago by its owner.
The name Hongqi is a non heard of name outside of China and due to low sales it is no doubt a collectible classic. Seems there is no more than 3 of this model in the USA.
Hongqi in Chinese means Red Flag, the grill is based on the traditional Chinese fan, and the purpose of this car was the transportation of important Chinese officials.
Manufactured from 1963 to 1980 the 1st generation CA770 model was a heavy car at 3 ton’s, engine is probably a Ford V8 197hp with auto transmission.
Other body styles included a convertible, a long wheelbase with a 3rd row of seats, and in 1969 an armoured version CA772 was introduced.
In spite of private buyers later being allowed to buy total sales of this model was around 1600, less than a 100 per year.
Still in production Hongqi sales havent improved much.
By 2013, its 4th generation Hongqi was released with the Toyota Crown providing the base. Sales of 30,000 a year were projected but 12 months later just 5000 had been sold.
The 2nd generation Hongqi made from 1995 – 2006 had the Audi 100 and the Lincoln Town Car providing the bases, while the 3rd generation model named HQ3 had the Toyota Crown Majestic as its base.
American manufactured cars are popular in China, have been for many years. In the earlier years it was the Packard as the in demand car, but later Buick became number 1 and it is said that sales of Buick into China gave General Motors the incentive to keep producing Buick’s. Listening to the owner of this Hongqi it still is Buick that is the most popular.
He is correct as Buick is the biggest selling GM brand in China. The Buick Envision SUV is made in China, when released in July 2014 projected sales in China were 100,000 but the total sales were actually 150,000 for the first 12 months..
It is possible GM may import the Envision into America as part of a trade deal with China but I wouldn’t expect a decision to made on this until after the Presidential election, plus there will be the opposition from the United Auto Workers to consider..
special thanks to Jay Leno’s Garage for this video, plus to Google Search and
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hongqi_(marque) for other information.
Photos are screen shots from the video.