This is the new Dongfeng Fukang ES600, an electric car based on the Dongfeng-PSA Peugeot 408. It will launch on the Chinese auto market later this year.
‘Fukang’ was a household name in China in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. It was the name of the Chinese version of the Citroen ZX, one of the first affordable mass-market middle-class cars on the Chinese market, also made by Dongfeng-PSA. In the mid-2000’s the Fukang name was replaced with the more French-sounding Elysee series.
The Dongfeng-PSA joint venture runs two brands: Dongfeng-Citroen and Dongfeng-Peugeot. Naturally, there is a lot of overlap and sharing between those brands but they are separate entities. In 2021, Dongfeng-Citroen somewhat silently resurrected the Fukang name for an electric sub-brand called Dongfeng-Fukang. The sub-brand has its own logo and is fully owned by Dongfeng-Citroen. Currently, Dongfeng-Fukang makes two cars:
The first one is the Dongfeng-Fukang e Elysee (e爱丽舍), based on the petrol-powered Dongfeng-Citroen Elysee, and that is indeed a descendant of the original Fukang Elysee. Output is 61 or 82 hp, claimed range is always 300 km NEDC. Price starts at 129.800 yuan ($20.400).
The second Dongfeng-Fukang is the ES500, previously known as the Dongfeng ES500. It is mainly sold to taxi companies and driving schools and the like. Output is 150 hp. Claimed range is 420 km NEDC. Price starts at 141.800 yuan ($22.280).
The new flagship sedan is called the Dongfeng-Fukang ES600. It is based on the petrol-powered Dongfeng-PSA Peugeot 408 sedan. Design changes are minimal. The biggest difference it the nose, with a new closed grille with charging point, a new bumper, and it has a new bonnet too. Otherwise, it is largely the same design as the 408, even the alloy wheels are same:
The Peugeot 408 sedan is aging. Production started in back 2014 and its long overdue replacement is on the way. But every car gets a second and third life in China, so even before it really dies the 408 will live on in the Dongfeng-Citroen ES600.
Badge on the left: Dongfeng-Fukang. The ES600 is powered by a single electric motor manufactured by Dongfeng Motor. Output is 150 hp. The same motor also powers the ES500, but the ES600 is a larger car, so top speed is only 140 km/h. Curb weight is 1573 kilo. For comparison, the Peugeot 408 weighs 1325 kilo. As the ES600 is a more upmarket vehicle I expect it will be aimed mainly at the private market, where competition is fierce.
While it is nice that the Fukang name is back, it is a bit sad that it is used for a basket case of low-tech electric vehicles based on aging or discarded petrol cars. Perhaps Dongfeng-PSA should have been wiser, using the Fukang name for a more innovative and all-new EV brand.