This is a long story, so we are going to make it as short as possible. Back when MG Rover was a solvent company it was looking to offload as much of its IPR without selling its core models’ designs, going through its portfolio it was found that it had the Austin Maestro platform.
MGR figured it could get a good deal for that platform in the Far East or Eastern Europe, and they were right when Etsong, a Qingdao based tobacco company snapped it up in 1998. Etsong had seen other regional car manufacturers develop in nearby cities, Etsong clearly thought it was onto a winner when it produced the Maestro in Qingdao.
The trouble was, it produced the Maestro in 2000 and there were much better cars on the market by then. Etsong quickly but quietly stopped making cars and sold the whole kit over to FAW which were more than happy to use the factory to continue building Maestros… until it sold the tooling and IPR to Sichuan Yema a couple of years ago. Sichuan Yema rolled out its own Maestro based cars, although they looked far too close to the last generation Forrester for comfort.
Now Yema is planning to use the same Maestro platform to produce an Audi A4 Avant Wagon clone according to these pictures, the Chinese media was keen to point out that the tiny firewall between the dashboard and the engine compartment is likely to help it fail a crash test in spectacular fashion. The engine power is currently unknown but it does not look to be a Mitsubishi engine, in fact it looks closer to being a Geely engine but this is unlikely.
[Source: China Car Times]
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.