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Hongqi makes debut at CES, showcases cutting-edge smart cabin

By Li Fusheng | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-01-10 10:26
Visitors try out the virtual reality facility to experience the interaction between man and machine at Hongqi's booth during the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the United States. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

China FAW Group's premium brand Hongqi is the country's first and oldest luxury marque, with its first model in 1958 hailed as the start of China's car industry.

Yet the time-honored brand is looking to the future and made its debut with an intelligent cabin at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the United States, from January 8 to 11.

The cabin, called Qijing, is one of its latest technological achievements since Hongqi released its new strategy in January 2018 to become the No 1 automotive brand in China and renowned worldwide.

Hongqi said taking part at the CES allows it to learn about the latest industry trends and network with carmakers and IT companies.

The brand said the cabin demonstrates its vision for an intelligent future and its concept of interaction between man and machine.

The cabin offers an unprecedented experience, enabling users to communicate with the car through all five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste and touch, said Hongqi.

Hongqi's stand attracts many visitors from around the world at the ongoing CES. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

The cabin is part of a bigger technological package at Hongqi called "R.Flag", which was unveiled in October 2018 to build a "future-oriented, green and smart platform", said the company.

The R.Flag, which stands for "Rise, Future, Leading, Autonomous and Genes", is made up of four strategic plans: i.RFlag, e.RFlag, 5f.RFlag and m.RFlag.

The i.RFlag is concerned with smart and connected vehicles. Hongqi has announced its plan to introduce Level 3 autonomous driving vehicles this year.

The brand joined hands with Chinese technology giant Baidu in 2018. Powered by its Apollo system, Hongqi cars capable of Level 4 autonomous driving will be tested in cities including Beijing and Changchun in Jilin province later this year.

They will be mass-produced in 2020, and Level 5 cars will hit the road in 2025, according to Hongqi.

The e.RFlag plan outlines the brand's ambition in new energy vehicles. The company will start to mass-produce fuel cell vehicles from this year, and electric cars with a range up to 600 kilometers are expected to be launched in 2020. By 2025, it will roll out 15 new energy vehicles.

Hongqi's cabin, called Qijing, is one of the carmaker's latest technological achievements since Hongqi released its new strategy in January 2018. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

The 5f.RFlag is designed to provide users with the ultimate experience by using cutting-edge technologies, while the m.RFlag represents Hongqi's ridesharing plans.

The comprehensive technological package is just part of Hongqi's achievements since its new strategy was unveiled.

In April, Hongqi made its premiere as an independent brand at the Beijing auto show, one of the most important events in the automotive industry. Among exhibits, it showcased the H5, its first B-class sedan, which was hailed as the most beautiful Hongqi car, and its first electric SUV, wowing audiences at the biennial show. Hongqi plans to launch 17 brand-new cars by 2025.

In November, Hongqi revealed a sedan capable of Level 4 autonomous driving, the first of its kind in China, at the World Internet Conference.

Its HS7 SUV, which is the first C-Class SUV by a Chinese carmaker, was also a star at the event. The model is expected to hit the market this year.

Hongqi was the official vehicle provider for the World Internet Conference, where its C-class sedan H7 won praises for its design, technology and quality.

The model also served guests at other global events, including the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.

Hongqi's brand awareness and sales have seen rapid progress. Despite the overall sluggish Chinese market, Hongqi exceeded its 2018 sales target of 30,000 vehicles in mid-December. Hongqi expects its sales this year to reach 100,000.

Looking forward, FAW said it will mobilize the best resources, select the best suppliers and build top-class factories for the Hongqi brand to create better products and experiences for its customers.

"We believe Hongqi will come onto the world stage in a more confident and graceful way, and help fuel China's automotive industry's effort to go upward as a whole," said the brand in a statement.

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