Donated Chinese limousines Hongqi took part in the Victory parade in Minsk
Yesterday many spectators of Minsk Victory parade were surprised by the choice of vehicles that were used at the festive event - the parade was held on two Chinese Red Flag limousine-convertibles (Hongqi), and not on the Soviet Chayka or ZILs with its trimmed roofs.
At first glance, one might think that the political background is obvious in the choice of these cars. To go to Mercedes-Maybach products, which Alexander Lukashenko uses on a daily basis, would be somehow indecent, remembering the culprit of the biggest tragedy in the history of the Belarusian people. To expel the Soviet “Chayka” breathing incense from VIP garages is also a bad man, as if demonstrating the inextricable link between Belarus and Russia, from which Lukashenko is clearly distancing himself today. Therefore, a new geopolitical and strategic partner of Minsk came to the rescue - China.
True, the history of the brand Hongqi is directly related to the USSR. The "first car factory" of China, now known in Russia under the name FAW (First Automotive Works), was built in 1953 as an exact copy of the Moscow enterprise ZIS (hereinafter ZIL). The plant produced ZIS-150 trucks, named in the Chinese way "Jifan" (Liberation).
However, relations between Moscow and Beijing soon cooled, and therefore in the second half of the 50s, when China decided to make a limousine for the elite, the 1955 American Chrysler Imperial was chosen as the prototype of Hongqi CA72. From the Soviet automobile industry they took only the radiator grille - it strongly resembled the GAZ-21 Volga.
From 1995 to 2006, the Lincoln Town Car for the party elite, the elongated Audi 100 for the mid-level PDA, and the short version of the "hundred" for party members were simpler under the Hongqi brand. In the new century, they were replaced by Toyota Crown Majesta - one of the most luxurious, but still massive models of the Japanese brand.
The fourth generation of Hongqi was born to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party in 2009. The premiere was held at a parade dedicated to this event. Both the parade and the new limousine were to become symbols of the triumph of China and its transformation from a third world country into a superpower. Therefore, the car received monumental forms in the style of Rolls-Royce Phantom. But the front end of the novelty, as if referring to the traditions, they took back from "Volga"!
And what is the design of a super limousine with a red flag on the hood? Alas, the Chinese did not come up with anything unusual! At the heart of the Hongqi is the frame from the Toyota Land Cruiser 200. Contrary to the suspicions of experts about the Maybach engine, it turned out that the Chinese engineers made the V12 6.0 themselves.
By the way, the price of the Hongqi in China is $ 760 thousand (this is about three times more expensive than the Russian Aurus Senat) and at the same level as the Rolls-Royce.
Only a big enthusiast of this brand would buy Hongqi somewhere outside China. But, as reported in the media, two convertibles with a red banner were presented to Minsk by Beijing in 2015. At the same time, the implementation of a large-scale economic project to create a Chinese production cluster in Belarus began.