Chery Cars’ Ambition In Australia

Chinese brand Chery Cars will target younger buyers with a re-launch in Australia, with live car updates and exclusive events for owners.  The brand will launch the Omoda 5 SUV when it returns to Australia, followed by two larger crossovers, the Tiggo 7 Pro and the Tiggo 8 Pro. 

Copies of all three will be shipped to Australia from Shanghai in July for potential customers and dealer partners to peruse, although the brand has not confirmed how it plans to showcase the vehicles locally.  

When it comes to cars for sale, Chery told CarExpert it plans to target Gen Z buyers with a range of initiatives, including owner events aimed at building community.  However, now, when it is in the second season, the WCWL schedule also adapts online technology. Some brands have managed to build a strong owner community in Australia, but with a focus on passionate buyers.  

Hyundai is hosting race days for its N Performance community, while Toyota has launched the Gazoo Racing brand with the promise of events for GR Supra owners. However, this practice is less common when it comes to passenger cars and popular SUVs. 

Along with first-party events, Chery plans to be one of the first mainstream car brands to offer over-the-air updates for its entire lineup. Over-the-air (OTA) software tweaks, which is created firstly by Tesla, enable automakers to add novel features or deploy fixes to their vehicles far away.

Tesla is no longer the only one offering OTA capabilities; Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo, Polestar, and Porsche can not only update their car’s infotainment systems but also update the vehicle’s drivability elements through firmware changes. However, this feature has yet to find its way into the mainstream market. 

The new Ford Ranger can be updated by OTA, but the technology is absent from many of Australia’s best-selling vehicles. In addition to first-party events and OTA capabilities, members of Chery’s launch team told CarExpert that the brand is looking into Lexus or Genesis-style servicing, where technicians pick up the car before it can be serviced and then returned to the owner. Chery has been a big hit since it penetrates the Australian market for the first time.

Its range of six Tiggo SUVs offered abroad gives it potential rivals in everything from the Hyundai Venue to the Hyundai Santa Fe, and it also offers a sedan about the same size as the Toyota Camry. Power for the entire range comes from a compact turbocharged petrol engine as well as the updated active driver-assist suite, which is the feature of the latest Chery models.

When it launches in Australia, the Chery will face fast-growing Chinese brands GWM (Great Wall Motor, including GWM Haval) and MG in the race to establish itself.  Similar to its competitors, Chery puts much emphasis on attracting and encouraging sales overseas. It penetrates over 80 areas, ranging from Peru to South Africa.

Chery never reached the great heights of Down Under on her first try. Announced in 2008 and launched in 2011, the brand is distributed by Ateco Australia, which currently handles brands ranging from Renault to RAM.  

Sales of the J1 city hatch, J3 hatch and J11 SUV were all slow during Chery’s initial test run. The J1, priced at around  $10,000  before being withdrawn from sale due to lack of stability control, peaked with sales of 434 units in 2011 and ended with just one in 2015.  

The J11 SUV hit the mark. peak sales were 1,114 units in 2011 and ended with 84 in 2015, while the J3 hatch achieved 468 sales. The brand itself sold 1822 vehicles in 2011, 1133 cars in 2012, and 903 machines in 2013. What’s more, the company reached 592 selling records in 2014 and then marked success with a total volume of 201 in 2015.

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