Chery Australia wants to show off its glow-up to local buyers, distancing itself from the “cheap and cheerful” company it was during its failed first run here in the early 2010s.

    Speaking with CarExpert at the launch of the new Tiggo 7 Pro SUV, director of brand and marketing for Chery Australia, Mark Vukoja, cited brand awareness and brand image as the key challenges for the brand as it embarks on its second assault on the local market.

    “Biggest challenge? I think one is brand awareness, a lot of people didn’t have a view of our brand, and also communicating the Chery of today is not the Chery of yesterday – there’s a big difference,” Mr Vukoja said.

    “So we’ve got those challenges, put them together to create that brand image where we see it lying, and that is very much [we are] the most premium brand from China, but also [we’re] a brand that’s quite a strong contender to the established Korean and Japanese brands.”

    “The product is very solid. We’re aiming to provide consumers a good value price point, not a cheap and cheerful price point. So, really cementing ourselves as that quality product manufacturer that is a viable alternative to the established major brands,” Mr Vukoja added.

    While something of an unknown entity in the Australian market, Chery is one of China’s biggest vehicle exporters, and has ambitious global expansion plans – it has expanded into various Middle Eastern markets in recent years, before entering Mexico in 2022, where it sells cars under the Chirey nameplate, and then entering Malaysia in 2023.

    Next, it plans to tackle the European market with three separate brands: Omoda, Jaecoo and the all-electric Exlantix. It’s also setting up factories in Argentina, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand to build combustion-powered, hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs), and already builds cars in Brazil and Egypt.

    From January to September, Chery Group has sold 1,253,327 vehicles globally, a year-on-year increase of 40.2 per cent. That also means that, though there are still three months left in the year, Chery has already exceeded its 2022 total.

    The Chery Omoda 5 has already made waves Down Under, boasting over 4200 registrations within nine months on market and snatching 3.5 per cent share of the small SUV segment year to date (as of October 31).

    This week the company has launched the larger Tiggo Pro 7, which plays in the burgeoning mid-sized SUV segment home to the likes of family favourites including the Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5.

    In 2024 Chery has several new vehicle launches locked in and others in the works, with the Omoda 5 to gain an all-electric variant mid-year to rival the BYD Atto 3 and MG ZS EV, while a more powerful 1.6T petrol version with available AWD will join the existing 1.5T FWD range.

    The Chinese brand’s local arm has also confirmed its plans to launch the larger Tiggo 8 Pro in 2024 to rival the Mitsubishi Outlander, with both the Tiggo 7 Pro and Tiggo 8 Pro plug-in hybrids earmarked for a potential Australian introduction as well.

    Would Chery sit above GWM Haval and MG on your consideration list? Share your thoughts in the comments!

    James Wong

    James Wong is the Production Editor at CarExpert based in Melbourne, Australia. With experience on both media and manufacturer sides of the industry, James has a specialty for product knowledge which stems from a life-long obsession with cars. James is a Monash University journalism graduate, an avid tennis player, and the proud charity ambassador for Drive Against Depression – an organisation that supports mental wellness through the freedom of driving and the love of cars. He's also the proud father of Freddy, a 2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI .

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