Hongqi under China's FAW Group saw its sales this year more than triple the figure in 2018, becoming the country's first and only premium automotive brand to have an annual sales volume of 100,000 vehicles.
"Our sales by Dec 26 hit 100,000, a target we set for 2020, which means we've realized our goal one year ahead of schedule," said the marque in a statement last week.
Hongqi said the models launched this year－the HS5 and HS7 SUV and the E-HS3 electric vehicle－contributed most to the rise in sales. Last year, its sales were 33,028.
It also has the H7 and H5 sedans as well as the L5 limousine in the market.
Established in 1958, Hongqi was known for limousines and parade cars made for top Chinese leaders, but its sales otherwise had been almost negligible until very recently.
So the group started a campaign in early 2018 to revitalize the brand, vowing to make it the No 1 automotive in the country and a renowned one globally.
FAW then said it would mobilize the group's best resources, select the best suppliers and build top-class manufacturing facilities for Hongqi.
Chairman Xu Liuping said Hongqi would launch 17 brand new models by 2025 including sedans and SUVs. The growing lineup would help turn Hongqi from a brand known for limousines for heads of state to a popular brand with a larger following, the carmaker said.
"Hongqi will strive to have annual sales of 300,000 units by 2025 and 500,000 units by 2035," Xu said when unveiling the strategy in early 2018. Analysts said that Hongqi's sales growth this year was a feat especially considering the sluggish vehicle market.
China's total vehicle sales stood at 23.11 million in the first 11 months of the year, down 9.1 percent year-on-year, according to statistics from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
Besides the new models, Hongqi's popularity was also attributed to its increasing number of branding programs including partnerships with the Palace Museum and the Changchun Marathon, said analysts.
Its presence at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January wowed many. And Hongqi also showcased two concept vehicles at the Frankfurt auto show in September.
The S9 is the company's first super sports model, which boasts a maximum speed of 400 km/h and a 100-km acceleration within 1.9 seconds, is equipped with the newly developed V8T hybrid system with a maximum power of 1,400 horsepower.
The E115 is Hongqi's smart electric SUV concept. And the four-wheel-drive off-road vehicle with a single-charge range of 600 km boasts an autopilot system and 0 to 100 km/h acceleration time in less than four seconds.
Meanwhile, Hongqi has developed partnerships with tech companies including Huawei, Baidu, Intel and iFlytek, as well as colleges including Jilin University to work on technology in the automotive industry.
"We are marching toward our strategic goal of being young people-oriented, market-oriented and global-oriented," said the carmaker.