2nd July 2022 – (Hong Kong) President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Hong Kong on 30th June had many special arrangements that were different from previous visits by top Beijing leaders to the city. President Xi was chauffeured around in a customised new Hongqi L5 bulletproof car. In 2017, the BMW 7-series bulletproof car provided by the Hong Kong government when he visited Hong Kong. In the past, Beijing leaders who visited Hong Kong were driven around in a BMW 7-series bulletproof vehicle provided by the Hong Kong police, including the visit of then-President Hu Jintao in 2012, the visit of then-Chairman of the National People’s Congress Zhang Dejiang in 2016, and the visit of President Xi Jinping in 2017.
The BMW 7-series bulletproof vehicle is used by dignitaries from many countries. The body is bulletproof and armoured, which can withstand close range shooting of rifles, and can even withstand bomb explosions, and can also detect poisonous gas.
During President Xi Jinping’s visit to Hong Kong this time, a BMW 7 Series was also seen in the accompanying motorcade, and it is believed that the security personnel of the Hong Kong government were using the vehicle. None of Hongqi’s existing models are similar to the official car used by President Xi. It is estimated that it is an exclusive design, and there is no detailed information. Xi Jinping took the Hongqi bulletproof car to the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Centre in the morning of 30th June, and when he went to the high-speed rail station from the Government House in the evening, he also used the same car, but the license plate was different from that in the morning.
The escort of his motorcade was handled by the police escort team with 5 motorcycles. It is reported that there were as many as 59 members of the police escort team involved.
Hongqi is an iconic brand best known for its large state limousines for politicians and wealthy business people. When the first Hongqi L5 sedan debuted in 2014, it was the most expensive Chinese car. The price was 5 million yuan (US$760 000). Hongqi is also one of the oldest Chinese automakers and is connected with the country more than others. The Hongqi in English means Red Flag, and the brand is perceived almost as patriotic. Also, the automaker claimed the Hongqi characters on the 2014 L5 rear are in Mao’s handwriting.
Hongqi also launched the limited edition of L5 for US$920 000. In 2018 they hired legendary Rolls-Royce chief designer Giles Taylor responsible for the last generation Phantom or Cullinan. Hongqi is also popular among African leaders or in Belarussia. Hongqi will replace the original 6.0 V12 engine with a 4.0T V8 powertrain with 485kW and maximum torque 850Nm. New L5 is supposed to be launched in 2022 and it is believed to be the same model used by President Xi.