FAW Group’s flagship brand Hongqi (Mandarin for Red Flag), has started exporting the China-made E-HS9 luxury SUV to Norway, marking the first step of its planned European expansion.

Best-known as chairman Mao Zedong’s favored car brand (and still popular with Chinese Communist Party elites), Hongqi has suffered a comprehensive transformation in recent years. 

While the classic Hongqi CA770 lives on through the retro styled Hongqi H5, the brand has launched modern vehicles with attractive designs more recently—especially after recruiting former Rolls-Royce styling director Giles Taylor in 2018.

One of those models is the E-HS9, an all-electric full-size luxury SUV Hongqi has chosen to spearhead its European expansion by launching it in Norway. The Chinese automaker says it already has more than 500 orders for its SUV in the Scandinavian country, Europe’s leader in EV adoption.

Gallery: First shipment of Hongqi E-HS9 electric luxury SUVs for Norway

The first Norway-bound shipment of Hongqi E-HS9 EVs left the city of Changchun in China's Jilin province on September 29. In a press release, Hongqi says the E-HS9 has won the trust and expectations of a large number of Norwegian users “with its unique Eastern luxury and charm.” 

The electric SUV is available with two battery packs in Norway—84 kWh and 99 kWh—offering driving ranges of 396 kilometers (246 miles) and 465 kilometers (289 miles), respectively (WLTP combined). Both battery packs support DC CCS2 fast charging at a rate of 110 kW.

These packs provide energy to a dual-motor AWD system with a total output of 320 kW (429 hp) in the base Comfort model and 405 kW (543 hp) in the Premium and Exclusive trim levels equipped with the larger battery.

In the more powerful versions, zero to 100 km/h (62 mph) takes 4.9 seconds and the top speed is limited to 200 km/h (124 mph). Prices in Norway start at NOK619,900 ($72,610) for the Hongqi E-HS9 Comfort while the range-topping Exclusive model retails for NOK779,900 ($91,325). 

The Chinese company has signed Motor Gruppen, a well-known Norwegian electric car import dealer, as its first business partner in Europe. According to the carmaker's local consumer website, the Hongqi E-HS9 will reach Norwegian stores in December. In the future, Hongqi plans to ship other small and medium SUVs and sedans to Norway and select European countries.

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