One of China’s most-respected vehicle manufacturers and the winning brand in the 2020 China National Car of the Year competition, is heading to South Africa.
Chery today announced the establishment of Chery South Africa, a wholly owned subsidiary of the industrial powerhouse and China’s top vehicle export brand for the past 18 years. The announcement makes South Africa the newest member of a global network with a family of over 9,5 million owners across more than 80 countries and regions. Indeed, Chery adds a new overseas owner to its family every 2 minutes.
From its new head office in Bryanston, Johannesburg, Chery South Africa will now complete the process of appointing the 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 over 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.
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 car parc.
“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.”
World-renowned automotive leader
While many South Africans will be familiar with the Chery brand, its range of ultra-modern cars and SUVs will surprise even the most avid car fanSince 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 over 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 results speak for themselves. In 2020, the Chery TIGGO 8 PRO beat all comers with over 1 million votes to become the Chinese National Car of the Year. Shortly thereafter, it won the Annual Innovation Award in recognition of its outstanding quality and innovative technologies.
“The TIGGO 8 PRO (called the TIGGO 8 PLUS in its home market) is just the latest example of our design and engineering expertise,” says Liu. “It has, alongside its many siblings, helped Chery to be recognised as one of the ‘Chinese Brands with the Best Global Image’ for the fifth time in 2020.”
Liu explains that after first making its products available to importers in South Africa, Chery reinvented itself as a technology and design leader and the benchmark for customer service, both at home in China and elsewhere.
Chery has become a benchmark for many technologies. For instance, its electric EQ1 and EQ5 together won 10 awards in the recent China EV Rally 2021, including the award for the best fast charging technology and the best battery endurance.
In the field of internal combustion, Chery has also led the way. 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 192KW and peak torque of 400 Nm, unleashing performance that is both robust and peerless in its competitor set.
And in the world of hybrid technology, the forthcoming Chery Universal Hybrid system will offer a real-world fuel consumption of 1 litre per 100 km in a combined driving cycle. This will not come at the cost of performance, with the system offering a 0-100 km/h time of five seconds.
Chery has developed its own suite of technologies across the entire spectrum of propulsion, including electric, internal combustion, hybrid, hydrogen and compressed natural gas. It also works with world leaders like Aisin, Getrag, Bosch and Schaeffler to perfect its technologies and create a drivetrain that is true to its brand promise of “Fun to Drive”.
“When we introduce our first models in South Africa, customers will be excited to see that 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.
“Wherever Chery is sold, our brand has become synonymous with technology, fashion and design and high quality. We are also well known and loved for our vehicle safety,” says Liu.
Liu explains that like its focus on proprietary engine and electric technology, Chery has developed best-in-class vehicle platforms for its SUVs, sedans and future new-propulsion vehicles.
These platforms include the SUV-focused T1X platform, the M3X platform for high-end SUVs and MPVs, the M1X platform for sedans and the forthcoming NEV platform for Chery’s range of New Energy vehicles.
These platforms utilise, among other innovations, high tensile steel that is hot-formed into position and six-dimensional frame design with not one, but multiple energy channels. The frame’s strength has been tested to the extreme, including submitting the hot-formed frame to pistol fire tests, which it passed with minimal damage. The energy-dispersing system allows crash energy to flow away from the occupants across multiple channels, allowing for the highest safety standards for all models.
“Chery has a safety laboratory that covers over 32 000 square metres, making it one of the biggest of its kind in the automotive industry. In this laboratory, we can replicate the strictest China NCAP and Euro NCAP standards, ensuring that safety is built in from the ground up,” says Liu.
South Africa – the next step
While its primary focus will be on establishing the true Chery brand in South Africa, the company aims to grow its footprint across the continent.
“South Africa is a very important market for us. Customers have high expectations, and we want to meet and exceed them.
“Once we have established a firm foothold in this market, we will use the expertise in the country and its import position as a springboard into the rest of the continent,” 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 are been selected over the past year for their strong track record, good reputation and geographical location.
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 connect directly with Chery South Africa to book a service or interact with the Customer Service team.
“In 2010, our chairman, Yin Tongyue, shared with the world our change from a company that was focused on sales, speed and scale to one that is fanatical about quality, brand and long-term returns. This is most evident in our new range of products, and we cannot wait to show them to South African customers,” says Liu.