In fact Chery South Africa, having been in South Africa from 2008, did preview two new models arriving next year in the form of the J2 and J3, but also showcased some of its technology in the form of a turbocharged sports car and an electric commuter car, the Chery M1, something which some fans at the JIMS alluded that they look forward to.
The ten-year old Chery continues to set the pace among Chinese motor companies in terms of its success as an exporter. Earlier this, year it became the first Chinese motor manufacturer to export more than 500 000 vehicles. It became Chinese export leader in 2003 and overseas sales now account for more than 20% of the company’s total annual output.
After the first eight months of 2011 its exports totalled 107 851 units, which is an improvement of 88,2% over the same period a year previously. At this rate the company says it will hit its forecast for the year three months before the end of December.
Currently there are three Chery models on the local market, the QQ3 hatch, which is one of the cheapest new cars on the SA market at R69 900, the Tiggo SUV and the J1 hatch.
The J3 which will arrive next year is an all-new, C-segment hatchback styled by Pininfarina of Italy. Powered by a 1,6-litre engine it has a high level of standard equipment.
The popular Tiggo is available with the choice of a 1,6- or 2-litre petrol engine with the larger capacity power unit matched to either a five-speed manual gearbox or a four-speed automatic.
The J2 is another new model, this time a B-segment sedan with a 1,5-litre power unit putting out 80kW. It is well-equipped and versatile, with fold flat rear seat backs that give a large loading area when required.
The interior is spacious for a car in this category and has an especially large luggage compartment.
The J2 is the result of Chery’s 4S design concept – Sporty, Science (technology), Space and Safety. It is designed to meet 4-star safety standards.
Chery M1 EV electric car is in the final testing phase and should go into production early next year in left hand drive to start. The car has a range of about 150km, dependent on driving conditions and then it takes 6-8 hours to recharge the batteries. Toyota also unveiled the same concept but obviously with different features.
Chery, which is only 10 years old, has put a great deal of focus on building international markets and already has a global network of more than 1 000 dealers in more than 80 countries, with the latest being Australia, where the brand was launched in February this year with the introduction of the Tiggo and J1 models to start, followed by the J3 in August.
It has already set up three research and development facilities in China – Anhui, Beijing and Shanghai – as well as R&D operations overseas in Japan, Italy and Australia.
Plans are afoot to establish global component supplier network linked to efficient logistical solutions to get parts delivered to the various worldwide manufacturing plants.