Nobody is perfect. Whether it’s product manufacturing, making movies, or any other type of consumer-facing business, mistakes are made, and those hiccups are then identified and called out by the general public. In this case, I noticed a big video game corporation messed up. Forza released an update pack, and one of the cars has the wrong name. The Wuling Sunshine S should be called the Wuling Hongguang S. Maybe. It’s kind of confusing.
The Forza Horizon 5 Series 4 update pack added a slew of new features, namely Chinese-language voiceovers and a couple of Chinese cars added to the range. “Forza” added the MG 3, a subcompact hatchback that my British auto journalist colleagues assure me isn’t very good, and the extremely exclusive electric hypercar, the NIO EP9. Forza also added the MG XPower SV, which arguably isn’t even Chinese, because it was developed pre-Nanjing takeover and was famously never produced under Chinese ownership.
The new car I took notice of, however, was the Wuling “Sunshine S.” A bit of an off-beat choice, this basic bread van is reminiscent of the Mazda 5 crossed with a Japanese Kei van. Power comes from a 1.2-liter four-cylinder making a whopping 82 horsepower, enough to make this car one of China’s best-selling vehicles. But the name is wrong in the game. It’s not called “Sunshine,” the vehicle’s actual name is “Hongguang S.”
My somewhat obscure knowledge of Chinese bread vans came in handy here; the second I laid eyes on the Wuling “Sunshine,” I knew it was all wrong. The Wuling Sunshine is a different, smaller, cheaper van. It’s sort of like the Suzuki Kei vans that sometimes make their way to the U.S., but a little longer, wider, and faster.
The Wuling Hongguang series is bigger, wider, and faster still. It trades a mid-engined (under the seats) design, for a traditional front-engine (in front of the driver) design.
I thought that maybe “Hongguang” translated to “Sunshine,” but no, it does not. I spent more than an hour wondering if the Hongguang S was sold as the Sunshine in some markets, but no, it was not. I couldn’t imagine that a huge company like Xbox, operating a multi-million-dollar franchise, would get the name of one of its add-on cars wrong.
I reached out to Xbox and was told they would look into the name faux pas, but that didn’t allay my concerns. Rather than continue to navigate badly Google-translated Mandarin web pages, I asked Shanghai-GM-Wuling (SGMW) for clarification.
“You’re right. It should be ‘Wuling Hong Guang S,’ instead of ‘Sunshine,’ Tingting Jiang, a Product Communications representative for Baojun, Chevrolet, and Wuling, said in an email.
For some reason, Forza decided to call the Hongguang S the Wuling Sunshine S. I wasn’t sure why Playground Games decided to change the van’s name; was it a simple corporate oversight? Or did Playground Games want to make a Chinese name sound more palatable to anglophone Forza Horizon players? Still, the name change was inaccurate, so I reached out to Xbox again.
“We checked in with the Wuling team and they agreed to have Sunshine in the name for the western audience,” Westley Gore, an Xbox representative, said in an email. “According to the team, since the original Sunshine product line is ended, Wuling does not have a strict English naming strategy for these two models anymore.
“Since Wuling Sunshine is Hongguang‘s English name, we decided to display its English name for the western audience to remember and pronounce it. Hongguang is the pronunciation of its Chinese name, 宏光, which means ‘glory light.’”
I guess an anglicization of the vehicle’s name for Western audiences is fair, although this one takes a lot of liberties. Sure, the Sunshine is no longer produced, but the Hongguang S and Sunshine were sold concurrently for some years. Also, what Xbox said is in direct contention with what SGMW told me. To me, this fiasco is akin to saying, “because the Ford Focus is no longer in production, it’s totally okay to badge your 2018 Focus as F-150, because Ford doesn’t make any Focuses anymore.” Whether or not the vehicle’s name change was a push from Playground games, or Wuling itself, we’ll probably never know. At the very least, the anglicization has probably tainted the google search results; half of my image results for “Wuling Sunshine” are screenshots of Wuling Hongguang S in Forza Motorsport.
Whatever the case, the van might be called “Sunshine” in the game, but that isn’t the actual name. The official name of that vehicle is the Wuling Hongguang S.
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