Huangdou History Bites: 2003-2008 Haiyang
By 2003, the Huangdou Haiyang midsize sedan had been refreshed with a new look embodying inspiration from both America and Japan. It was intended to compete with those American and Japanese competitors both domestically and internationally, with its secret weapon being its cheap price.
It was less expensive, however such did not come with great sacrifices. It was less powerful, making 132 hp out of a 2.0 litre 4 cylinder. It was less protected from the elements, with untreated steel panels covering its galvanized chassis. More prominently, it was a lot less safe, scoring just 1-star in the Euro NCAP offset frontal crash.
Starting at $17,500, the Haiyang still offered some comfort. Its leather seats were a huge upgrade from the cardboard-like calamity found in the SJ model line, its rear multilink suspension provided a supple ride with room for hard thrashing (not that the vehicle could get thrashed that hard anyways)…
…and upper trims came with some pretty fancy wood!
The normal consumer versions were as normal as they got. Electric power steering, choices between a 4-speed auto or a 5-speed manual, they were as “car” as “car” could have gotten.
However, the automaker did have one limited-run trim level dubbed the “Super Luxury” in English markets, and CHH (超豪华) domestically. It had a premium sound system made by Sony, softer springs, a lower body kit and chrome trim all over. It went for about $24,500 with a model run of only 1,000 vehicles.
It looked pretty handsome I have to say. I’m pretty proud of this one.
At an even more limited run was a sport version, with stiffer springs, lower ride height, better tires and bigger wheels. Only 500 of these were made. Rarely did any of them sell.
And what better way to end off this article with no taste! I thought this car looked relatively Japanese so I did a relatively Japanese thing to it.
During its 5 year run, the 2003-2008 Haiyang sold well in domestic markets, however, suffered in international markets due to its unsafe nature. Although relatively unassuming as a car, it did what early 2000’s Huangdou did well, and carried its legacy on to the next refresh.