Chery relaunches locally
There is an old saying that “if at first you don’t succeed, try again” – and that is exactly what Chinese automaker, Chery, is doing as it relaunches the brand into the local market. Motoring writer and enthusiast, Colin Windell sat down with us to talk about how Chery is intent on doing things differently as they relaunch the brand in South Africa.
Previously – sales ended in 2018 – Chery offered a range of vehicles including small budget cars, such as the QQ, which did not score well in terms of safety. This time, Chery South Africa comes as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the parent company, something that will stand it in good stead as the planned local product roll-out moves ahead along with the company’s plans to use South Africa as a springboard into sub-Saharan Africa.
Now, the company will concentrate it efforts on the highly competitive Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) market across the small, medium and large segments with the latest generation of the Tiggo, starting in November with the Tiggo4 Pro.
The announcement makes South Africa the newest member of a global network with a family of more than 9,5-million owners across more than 80 countries and regions. From its new head office in Bryanston, Johannesburg, Chery South Africa will now complete the process of appointing its first 30 dealers and preparing for the introduction of the first vehicles, which are expected in the fourth quarter of 2021.
“For Chery, the South African office holds a very special significance. The country welcomed our vehicles with open arms in 2007, and we have been supporting our customer base of more than 15 000 owners with parts and servicing ever since.
“Now we have the opportunity to enter the market directly, with a national network of dedicated Chery dealers and our completely new range of vehicles,” says Tony Liu, Executive Deputy General Manager, Chery South Africa.
First impressions of three models slated for launch, the Tiggo4 Pros, Tiggo8 Pro and Tiggo7 Pro, are promising and the styling clearly shows the influence of top level designers and engineers Chery has lured away from leading European manufacturers.
These new models have the right global appeal in terms of looks, and bristle with luxury and safety specifications.
Liu says that while the first Chery vehicles for sale will only arrive on local shores in late 2021, the company has been hard at work testing the vehicles in local conditions, recruiting the best dealers in key areas across South Africa and growing its parts storage and distribution capabilities beyond that which it used to service its existing base.
“By entering the market directly, customers will be able to experience the best that Chery has to offer, both in customer service and in our next-generation of products. If our experience in other global markets is anything to go by, then customers will be blown away.”
Since manufacturing its first vehicle 24 years ago, Chery has focused on developing its own core technologies, including a range of engines, vehicle platforms and safety technology. Today, Chery is recognised as a global leader on these fronts, with more than 13 000 technology patents and 5 500 dedicated research and development specialists in five research and development (R&D) centres spread across the globe.
“The Tiggo 8 Pro is just the latest example of our design and engineering expertise,” says Liu. “It has, alongside its many siblings, given Chery the recognisability as one of the ‘Chinese Brands with the Best Global Image’ for the fifth time in 2020.”
In the field of internal combustion, its current 1.6 ACTECTO TGDI direct-injection engine was voted one of the ‘10 Best Engines in the China Heart’ awards, along with five other engines from the group. Judges noted the ACTECTO engine’s high-power delivery (145 kW and 290 Nm) and incredible thermal efficiency of 37,1% as reasons for winning the award.
For fuel power solutions, Chery unveiled its 2.0 TGDI engine with a maximum power of 192 kW and peak torque of 400 Nm.
“When we introduce our first models in South Africa, customers will see our focus is not only on the technology under the skin, but also in the cabin. Our range of intelligent driving assistance systems is world class, and we are a leader in the field of high resolution screens and touch- and voice-control technologies,” says Liu.
To ensure it meets and exceeds the expectations of South African motorists, Chery will enter the market with an established network of 30 dealers. These dealers have been selected over the past year for their strong track record, good reputation and geographical locations.
Chery will back these dealers with a large parts warehouse, strong mechanical warranty and service plan, and a comprehensive 24-hour roadside assistance service.
Chery is also studying the local introduction of its global Chery app, available on both iOS and Android, which will not only allow the owner to monitor his or her vehicle’s health, but also connect directly with Chery South Africa to book a service or interact with the Customer Service team.
“Final specifications and pricing will be announced at the time of actual launch,” says National Sales Manager, Jay Jay Botes. “All our pricing will be based on a ‘what you see is what you get’ basis so buyers will not have to wade through long options lists – and I can promise the pricing will be competitive, offering a high value-for-money proposition.”
If you’re looking for a new car that promises all this and more, then consider the new line-up that Chery is bringing to our shores. Just make sure that you cherry-pick the right cover from Dialdirect Insurance. Not only will we give your new car all the cover it needs, you’ll even be able to earn a bit of extra ching every month with our Monthly Payback.
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