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To answer Martin's question: (I will try to make it short)

Prior to 1998, I knew very little about the Chinese auto industry, except for the large joint ventures. When I gained access to the internet, I learnt that China had more than 100 makers and, in order to unearth as much info as possible, I taught myself to work with the Chinese script/language on computers (I cannot read, write, or speak it) with the help of online translation and transliteration resources.

I generally have followed govt. sources for primary information like autoinfo.gov, NDRC, MIIT, their monthly announcements, their vehicle approval tables, resources like chinacar.com.cn, cn357.com. [Chinese-car guru Mr Erik, who often posts here, will agree with this strategy :)]. This provides the basic database and specifications, as well as the official designations of vehicles, very useful in searching later for pics, for example. For pictures, I utilize Chinese names/script for searching, usually on Google Images.

If you are wondering why most of my posts since joining CCF have been regarding the vans, it is because I find them rather under-represented and under-reported on by the media.

Thanks for asking!
 

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I would like to make a small addendum that the pickup shown in Martin's latest post above and in that of kdfgh's 07-16-2012 post is officially known as "Shenqi" (SC1025S/D) which is related to the smaller Starlight 6395, and is available in single- and double-cab versions.

There existed a different pickup called Starlight pickup (Xingguang xiaoka/pika) (SC1029S) which was related to the larger Starlight 4500, and was available in double-cab version only. According to the Changan commercial vehicle site, the 1029 is no longer on sale.

Edit: I see Martin already had posted previously (in 2010) on this Starlight pickup.

SC1029:

 

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Changan SC6400LQ (V3?)

Changan is reviving the old S460 under a new name (probably V3) after a hiatus in production lasting two years. NDRC has assigned new codes for this batch of vans, SC6400LQ, replacing the earlier SC6408. Engine is 1.24L 65 kW, instead of the previous 1.0 and 1.3L units.



 
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