On Monday, Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Moscow for his eighth trip to Russia since 2010. A ceremonial cortege carried Xi to an exclusive meeting with Russian President Putin at the Kremlin. Xi and his Chinese delegation were chauffeured in a fleet of black limousines that featured an unusual model: the Hongqi N701, a Chinese-made luxury vehicle designed specifically for high-ranking government officials. The N701 features a stretched B-pillar, an enlarged traditional-style bonnet, and a shortened trunk in line with contemporary trends in luxury automobile design. The N701’s distinctive red flag hood ornament with chrome accents expresses its identity and status (Hongqi is translated to mean “red flag”), as does its predecessor model number CA72 which debuted in 1958 based on the Soviet GAZ-13 Chaika. All predecessors to this model have featured identical designs since then – from CA72 in 1958 back to N701 today.
Chinese media reports that the Hongqi N701 limousine is equipped with either a locally sourced V8 or V12 engine and armor protection, though no further details are available to the public. The N701 is the successor to the iconic N501, debuting in 2018 as a smaller and bolder-looking version of that state car. Over the next ten years, only fifty N701s will be produced – one for each of China’s prominent officials, such as the president, ministers, and members of the Communist Party’s Politburo. The CA7600L, also referred to as the Hongqi L9 limousine, features retro-inspired elements reminiscent of the first Hongqi CA72. First Auto Works, a Chinese automotive titan that produces millions of cars, vans, SUVs, trucks, buses and other personal and commercial vehicles annually, owns the Hongqi brand. While the N701 sedan and HQ9 minivan are not currently available for purchase, Hongqi does offer the H5 sedan and HQ9 minivan to those seeking an experience of Chinese luxury.
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