China’s FAW Group this week started construction of a new assembly plant for Hongqi brand new energy vehicles in Changchun, the capital of China’s Jilin province.

FAW plans to invest CNY7.8bn (US$1.1bn) in the new plant, which will have a designated annual production capacity of 200,000 ‘intelligent connected’ new energy vehicles.

The facility is scheduled to be completed in 2022.

FAW is reported to have sold close to 25,000 Hongqi vehicles in the first quarter of 2019, up by 88% year on year, after just over 33,000 sales in the whole of 2019.

The iconic brand, meaning red flag, was established in 1958 for large limousines used in national celebration parades and for other special events.

FAW has high ambitions for its Hongqi brand, with plans to have up to 25 passenger car and SUV models available by 2025 – 18 with electrified powertrains.

At the beginning of 2020 FAW said it expected Hongqi sales to rise sharply over the next decade, to 400,000 units by 2022, 600,000 units by 2025 and 1m units by 2030.

The COVID19 coronavirus will likely have an impact on the brand’s sales potential in the short term.

FAW Hongqi – future models for the 2020s and beyond