Chinese automakers have been trying to break into the U.S. car market for decades with virtually no success. But many American companies are still trying to go the other way, and a new U.S. startup just signed a big deal with China’s leading political party’s favorite automaker.
The young U.S. company is called Silk EV, which claims to have a team of “engineers, designers, and suppliers” who are all experts in the automotive industry, with corporate locations in New York, Changchun, China, and Modena, Italy, according to the company website.
The news is that Silk has now partnered with FAW, the Chinese company behind one of the Chinese leadership’s favorite brands, Hongqi—China’s first limousine automaker. Here’s more on the arrangement, from Reuters:
A little-known U.S.-based engineering and design firm said it plans to invest 10 billion yuan ($1.41 billion) to make sports cars with China’s FAW Group under the brand of choice of late revolutionary leader Chairman Mao Zedong, Hongqi.
Silk EV on Monday told Reuters it has signed a memorandum of understanding with FAW to launch a joint venture in the state-owned automaker’s hometown of Changchun, northern China, to make cars it has dubbed the S-series.
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Hongqi, the brand name, translates to “Red Flag,” after the red flag of the Chinese communist party. It built some of the iconic black sedans that have transported Chinese leadership around since the Cold War, starting with the founding father of the People’s Republic of China, Mao Zedong.
As for what sports car this luxury automaker is gong to put together, there’s the Hongqi S9 sports car that was shown off at the Frankfurt International Auto Show last year, which looked like this:
I’m not really one to saber rattle over an American company going to a new market to make money. In fact I’m actually excited that there’s now a new door open for some Chinese cars to start showing up over here (especially Hongqi!), though there’s no mention of that in the announcement.
But communist ruling party branded sports cars? I’m very interested.