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 Pininfarina develops two new Chinese cars
 by Giancarlo Perini


 

HF Lobo





HF Fantasy








June 11, 2002 - Pininfarina has designed two new and cute cars for Hafei, their Chinese patron. The two new cars, HF Lobo and HF Fantasy, are on display at the Beijing Motor Show.

The Lobo is a compact notchback corresponding to the European Low B segment (VW Polo, Peugeot 106 or Fiat Punto), and is due to enter production phase later this year. 'Lobo' is a Chinese word that translates into 'Treasury on the road'. The HF Lobo is a five door, four to five seater hatchback with a 1075cc four-cylinder engine delivering 35kW of power to the front wheels.

At this time its entire production (projected to run at 100,000 units per year) is due to be sold exclusively in mainland China. The HF Lobo is 3587mm long, 1564mm wide, 1527mm high and sits on a wheelbase of 2335mm. Front and rear overhangs are minimal.

The second car is a stylish, upper class, four-seater coupe with gull-wing doors. It is being presented as a show car with no plans for production at this stage and thus called HF Fantasy (where HF stands for HaFei). No details about its powertrain and any other technical data were available from the carmaker and Pininfarina would not add anything to what its customer has decided to say at this stage.

Nevertheless there is not doubt that the design represents the very first example of a Chinese Gran Turismo that we may see rather sooner than later, if one has to judge by the speed the Chinese car industry is progressing, on the (Chinese, and possibly European) roads. With the unveiling of these two new products at the Beijing Motor Show (open June 8th through 13th) the number of Pininfarina projects for the emerging Chinese motor company.

Six years of very active cooperation: In May 1996 Pininfarina became the first Italian car design and engineering company to reach an agreement with a Chinese carmaker. The initial agreement led to the launch of the Hafei Songhuajiang Zhongyi minivan at the 1999 Beijing Motor Show. The small minivan was subsequently exhibited on the Pininfarina stand at the 2000 Geneva Motor Show and is now built at the rate of some 100,000 units per year.

The cooperation agreement with Pininfarina has given Hafei the opportunity to develop a range of vehicles under its own brand name rather than linking up with one of the existing major companies. In turn, Pininfarina has had the opportunity to create the image of this new brand, in complete freedom and without any constraints.

According to Pininfarina, the HF Fantasy is not intended to be a production model but rather an interpretation from a purely stylistic standpoint of a 3-box sports saloon aimed at the upper segment of the market. The show car also emphasises the vitality and ability to innovate of a company like Hafei Industrial Group Corporation, and celebrates the co-operation of Pininfarina as the ideal supplier, of both design and engineering services, and develops certain strong themes of the Lobo to achieve a family feeling.

The successful co-operation of the two companies has led to the extension of the agreement to a third contract for the styling, design, prototyping and testing of yet another upcoming new vehicle.

The third production car is to be engineered by Pininfarina to meet European type-approval standards since it might eventually be exported to some European markets. No details have been provided about what sort of vehicles the third model in the Hafei range is, but if the HF Fantasy (a running prototype) may be a point of reference one can expect it to be modern saloon the size of the Renault Laguna. In other words: I think the HF Fantasy is a show car based on the third project, a sport saloon, on which platform the HF Fantasy is likely to be built.

The Pininfarina HF Fantasy is 4719mm long, 1820mm wide and 1380mm high.


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Last updated: Thu, Jun 13, 2002