North Korea 2013: Hawtai Lusheng E70 best-seller?

Hawtai Lusheng E70 North Korea December 2013. Picture courtesy of Lusheng E70

* See the Full article by clicking on the title! Many thanks to Erik *

A couple of days ago, Chinese websites Autohome and Carnewschina reported that Hawtai Motor have just exported 200 Hawtai Lusheng E70 taxis to North Korea. Carnewschina says “the taxis will be deployed in the the North Korean capital Pyongyang. The vehicles were handed over to a North Korean state-owned company during a festive ceremony near the Chinese-North Korean border and will be shipped to Pyongyang by train.”

Hawtai Lusheng E70 North Korea December 2013b. Picture courtesy of Lusheng E70

Given how limited the North Korean new car market is, this could well push the Hawtai Lusheng to #1 best-seller in 2013 in the country. Unofficially of course. But wait there’s more: Carnewschina reports “the taxi deal is part of a much larger agreement for a total of 1000 cars, including SUV’s and sedans.” This means 2014 could be the year of Hawtai in North Korea. As a brand Hawtai has been relatively active on the export front lately, with Chinese automotive media listing the following destination countries:  Iraq, Libya, Jordan, Russia, Iran, Egypt and Angola. The Hawtai Lu Sheng E70 was launched in China March, with prices between 67.900 and 89.700 yuan (USD11.200-14.800).

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North Korea: Pyeonghwa Samchunri should lead the ranking

Advertising billboard for the Pyeonghwa Samchunri. Picture by Eric Lafforgue. All Rights reserved.

* See the North Korean capital Pyongyang’s streets as if you were there by clicking on title! *

The North Korean car market is very limited but seems to have enjoyed a mini-boom over the last couple of years as more cars can be seen in the formerly deserted streets of Pyongyang. Pyeonghwa Motors (meaning ‘Peace’ in Korean) was founded in 1999 and has the exclusive rights to car production, purchase and used car sales in North Korea and is only one of two car manufacturers in the country with Pyongsang Auto Works. Pyeonghwa produced an estimated 1,000 vehicles a year.

Pyeonghwa Motors is also currently the only company in North Korea, all sectors put together, to have got the right to advertise. A series of billboards and TV commercials (such as the one above) have been made in an effort to show residents that their country is able to produce products such as motor vehicles. The official Pyeonghwa website is here.

Pyeonghwa Hwiparam II

Pyeonghwa Hwiparam III

The Pyeonghwa Samchunri is a rebadged Jinbei Haise van (itself based on the 1989 Toyota Hiace), assembled under license from Brilliance China Auto. It should be by far the best-selling vehicle in North Korea, followed by the Pyeonghwa Hwiparam II, a rebadged Brilliance BS4, and the Pyeonghwa Premio CUV, a rebadged Huanghai Shuguan (with a Hyundai Santa Fe front and an old gen Kia Sorento back!). The Pyeonghwa Hwiparam III, based on the Brilliance FSV, is the brand’s most recent model and has gone on sale in 2011.

Pyeonghwa Premio 

As far as imports are concerned, the best-sellers seem to logically be two popular models from neighbouring countries: the BYD F3, a success in China, and the Lada Priora, #2 in Russia. But no Japanese cars: in 2007, Kim Jong-Il ordered the confiscation of all Japanese-built vehicles… Export-wise, the Pyeonghwa sells the Premio pick-up in Vietnam through Mekong Auto.

More pictures and rare street scenes and videos below.

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