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Hongqi S9 marks the beginning of a new chapter in the auto story in China

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 Hongqi S9 marks the beginning of a new chapter in the auto story in China


The Chinese state-owned automobile company FAW unveiled the Hongqi S9, the first electric vehicle to form part of the government's mega-belt and road project.

The Hongqi S9 is a 1,400 hp hybrid car built in partnership with Italian engineering and design startup Silk EV.

Hongqi S9 marks the beginning of a new chapter in the auto story in China



The car was first shown in February, but the two companies gave it a proper appearance for the first time at the 2021 Shanghai Auto Show this week.

  • FAW and Silk EV are building only 99 of them, and the ordering phase will start at the end of this year.

  • The two companies have not announced a price for the Hongqi S9, nor have they shared many of their specs (besides that the internal combustion engine will be a V8).

  • The Hongqi S9 was designed by (Walter de Silva), known for his previous work with Alfa Romeo, Audi, Volkswagen, and Lamborghini.

  • The vehicle is intended to serve as a prototype vehicle for future all-electric vehicles being developed by FAW in China and Italy as part of the joint venture with Silk EV, an effort supported by some of the largest Chinese banks.

  • It is developed under the Hongqi trademark, which the automaker first began using when it built cars largely exclusively for high-ranking Chinese government officials, including (Mao Zedong), the founder of the People's Republic of China.

  • FAW said: It wants to make Hongqi the first global auto brand in China.

  • A number of EV startups are trying to do the same, as Xpeng has started shipping small quantities of its electric vehicles to Europe, even though they do not have access to the same resources that the state-owned auto manufacturers can benefit from.

  • As part of the China Belt and Road project, which includes infrastructure projects of various sizes across Asia, Europe, and Africa, the joint Silk-FAW project has the advantage of becoming part of the Chinese government's larger narrative of the initiative to create diplomatic and economic opportunities.

  • And while Italy is a logical place to develop such a car, being the home of Ferrari and Lamborghini, it was also the first country in the G7 to endorse the Belt and Road Initiative.

  • And what began as an exotic and limited-range supercar may be just the beginning of something much bigger in terms of China's influence in the global electric vehicle market.

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