China's FAW Group is considering setting a higher sales target for its Hongqi, or Red Flag, premium brand in coming years as its sales surge, its chairman said on Wednesday.

Reuters noted the brand was the vehicle of choice for former China chairman Mao Zedong.

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% year on year, even as overall market sank by 17% between January and June.

FAW would stick to its sales target for Hongqi this year and was considering setting a more aggressive target for the following years, Xu reportedly said.

Reuters noted Xu in January said Hongqi aimed to sell 200,000 units this year, 400,000 units in 2022 and 600,000 units in 2025, and grow further to 1m in the next decade.

For next year, FAW hopes to at least double its sales, Xu reportedly 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.

Reuters said Hongqi, based in the northeastern city of Changchun, had undergone several revamps over the decades, falling out of favour for a period in the 1980s.

But it had 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.

The news agency added the brand is regarded as a cultural symbol of China's ruling Communist Party. In 2018, Hongqi hired former Rolls-Royce designer Giles Taylor, whose works included the Phantom VIII and Cullinan, to head its design team in Munich.