The chances are, that you have never heard of Chinese car brand Chery, but that could well change in the next few years. This is because the brand has announced it’s to set up a R&D facility in Europe, with the aim to break in to this part of the market. To help kick-start this, a new compact SUV will be unveiled at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show on the 12th of September.
Who Is Chery?
Yes, that is a question many of you will be asking, so let Motor Verso enlighten you. Having started in a small garage 20 years ago, Chery has risen to become the countries largest vehicle exporter for an impressive 14 consecutive years. Since the brand’s birth, 1.2 million models have been sold to overseas markets and it was also the first Chinese brand to sell six million vehicles. The company is growing too – 700,000 units were sold last year, representing a 28% compared to 2015. However, that is all just sales and marketing lingo, what about the actual cars themselves?
The first car sold was the Fengyun, which was produced in 1999 and featured the chassis from a SEAT Toledo. But due to legalities the car wasn’t sold until 2001, on which almost 30,000 were sold. Later down the line, the brand made plans its A1 model to be sold as a Dodge-brand car in America, yet this then fell through. As of 2006, the V5 – a compact MPV – was produced in Malaysia before being locally assembled in 2008, and is still made to this day. In 2012, Jaguar Land Rover paid the Chinese brand $2.78 billion to produce JLR models in China.
Bringing things back to the present day, the brand has announced its new compact SUV is designed for young, urban, progressive-minded customers. They’ve also said they meet the needs of European buyers in regards to design, quality, dynamics and crash safety. As you can imagine, details are few and far between at this point, but Chery promises the latest technology and low and zero-emissions powertrains for its yet-to-be-named SUV. Some pictures have also been revealed for the new model, but we will need to wait until the 12th of September to see the full package and specification.
“In just a few years we intend to start selling a family of vehicles in European markets across multiple segments, with power supplied by a range of electrified powertrains,”explained Chery CEO Dr. Anning Chen at Chery Automobile Co., Ltd. The company has indicated that it plans to sell a range of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (P-HEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs).
“Our brand will target open-minded, younger customers in particular, with a product rollout strategy that focuses on quality, low- and zero-emissions powertrains, and emotional engagement with customers. All Chery vehicles sold in Europe will feature class-leading connectivity, be fun to drive, offer flexible and spacious interiors and will provide comprehensive personalisation, all of which are aligned with our high standards of product quality and aftersales support,” Dr. Anning Chen concluded.
So then, could Chery be a real contender, or is it just an ambitious pretender? Time will tell.