The first units of the Hongqi E-HS9 reached Norway earlier this year, and Oslo-based dealership Motor Forum Skøyen has had one unit on display since at least February now (via Facebook). The car is now on a roadshow across the country visiting places such as Stavanger, Kvinesdal, Arendal and Tønsberg where prospective customers can get a demo.
Instagram user Trond Sjåstad (trond.sjaastad) had earlier posted a video of the Chinese luxury electric SUV plugged into a charger.
The Hongqi E-HS9, or as the western media calls it, the ‘Chinese Rolls Royce Cullinan’, will be delivered to customers in Norway this year. On its Facebook page, the local subsidiary is promising deliveries in the fourth quarter of the year. Prices, as per the Hongqi Norge website, are:
|Hongqi E-HS9 Variant||Price in Norway|
The introduction of the E-HS9 in the European market is regarded as the first and critical step for Hongqi to establish the brand in the Old Continent. Hongqi’s strategy is to start with North-western Europe with its E-HS9 and familiarize European buyers with the Hongqi brand. It follows a top-down approach and plans to launch small-and-medium-size SUV and sedan models.
FAW has tied up with Norwegian auto distributor Motor Gruppen – a reputable auto distributor in Norway with 45 years of experience – to sell the Hongqi E-HS9. Motor Gruppen would support both sales & service of the E-HS9 in the Norwegian market. FAW believes that it will expand the availability of the Hongqi range from Europe to the rest of the world in the future.
The Hongqi E-HS9 has a sleek exterior and a far more futuristic interior than the Rolls-Royce Cullinan. However, there’s no denying that its statesman-like styling has hints of the British model. The Chinese Rolls Royce is generating interest even in other markets. On 29 September 2020, FAW had said that it had received 1,437 orders, of which 650 units have been ordered from abroad.
Giles Taylor, a former designer at Rolls-Royce, has designed the Hongqi E-HS9, the production version of the Hongqi E115 concept. Before joining Hongqi as its Global Vice President of Design and Chief Creative Officer, Taylor oversaw the Rolls-Royce Cullinan and Phantom designs.
The Hongqi E-HS9 features the 12-bar vertical grille that lights up in a U formation with the ‘Red Flag’ icon at the centre. The grille is flanked by two vertical ‘fangs’ to emphasize the 3D effect, and the headlamps could be the largest for a production vehicle. The shoulder line runs from the upper lamps across to the side to the rear combination lights to provide a commanding look. Other details worth mentioning include the pillar bezels to break the optical bulk, height emphasized by its glass-to-metal ratio, side applique designed like a light trail, and chrome bumper finishers.
The interior layout may be conventional, but the cabin is one of the most digital ones in the industry. There are seven displays divided between the first- and second-row occupants, four in the front and three at the back.
Matrix LED headlights, flush-fitting door handles, face recognition AR-enabled full-HD head-up display, ‘fully-digital dashboard’ integrating three displays, and flush-fitted second-row entertainment displays in first-row seats are some of the equipment highlights of the Hongqi E-HS9. Level 3+ autonomous driving tech is also available on the brand’s flagship SUV.
The Hongqi E-HS9 is based on the FMA platform. It measures 5,209 mm in length, 2,010 mm in width, and 1,713 mm/1,731 mm in height, and it has a 3,110 mm wheelbase. It is available in two different technical configurations, both having an AWD drivetrain layout with two motors. The base configuration is available in 7-seat and 6-seat versions, and the top-end configuration is available in 6-seat and 4-seat versions with 22-inch wheels.
The base configuration has two 160 kW motors and an 84 kWh battery pack, and it delivers a range of at least 460 km (NEDC). The top-end configuration uses a 160 kW motor, a 245 kW motor, and a 99 kWh battery pack. It can go up to at least 510 km (NEDC) on a full charge. With just 10 minutes of fast charging, both configurations can return a range of 100 km or more. The E-HS9 supports wireless charging technology that can fully charge the SUV in 8.4 hours.
Hongqi E-HS9 Dunhuang Art Edition
On the eve of Auto Shanghai 2021, FAW unveiled the Hongqi E-HS9 Dunhuang Art Edition. The special edition model celebrates the strategic cooperation between FAW Hongqi and Dunhuang Research Institute, a tie-up meant for promoting Chinese luxury brands worldwide.
The Hongqi E-HS9 Dunhuang Art Edition features a special green body paint with a contrasting gold finish in the upper section of the body, including the roof. The new colour scheme is used for a regal appearance, and the new alloy wheel design enhances that royal styling. Inside, a picture of what could be a Chinese tradition is embossed on the storage box in the floor console.
What do the Chinese think?
A talented Chinese sketch artist and automotive enthusiast who goes by the handle ‘Wei Sir’ had sketched the Hongqi E115 electric SUV before its debut. On the Chinese site PCAuto.com.cn, he says how the Chinese public perceives Hongqi changed completely after the H9 (flagship sedan) debut. He notes that everyone pays attention to the brand, and the Chinese hope that Hongqi becomes a domestic luxury car brand that people aspire for.
Hongqi, originally a sedan for senior members of the Chinese government over the last couple of years, is increasingly viewed as an aspirational luxury car brand in China with serious ambitions to take on the German Big 3. Sales of Hongqi have been on the rise, with the company drifting away from conservative looks and plain interiors to a more forward-looking design, electric drivetrains, new materials, and processes, integrating AI and 5G in its vehicles and promising to mass-produce L3 and L4 autonomous vehicles.
FAW Group Corporation, the mother company of Hongqi, has planned to increase Hongqi’s sales to 400,000 cars in 2022, 600,000 in 2025, and 800,000 to 1 million in 2030. These are targets from before the Coronavirus outbreak and the semiconductor shortage that has impacted the auto industry. Despite hurdles, the brand sold over 200,000 cars last year in China.
More luxurious Hongqi SUV in development?
A new design patent application on China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) suggests that FAW-Hongqi could be developing an SUV or member more luxurious than the Hongqi E-HS9. The application reveals the interior of a model (codename: Hongqi HQE320).
The images show a 2+2 seating layout, a dashboard comprising multiple widescreens covering the width, a lower screen in the center console, and a rear console with a screen. The design of these elements, and the steering wheel and the floor console, is very similar to those of the Hongqi E-HS9. FAW-Hongqi is designing this model in a right-hand drive version as well.
Featured Image Source: instagram.com/trond.sjaastad