One of the first Chinese brands to take on the Australian market could be making a comeback.

    Chery, which sold cars through distributor Ateco Australia between 2011 and 2015, has reached out to local media ahead of a potential relaunch, and is currently advertising for a Sydney-based sales director role on LinkedIn.

    Both the media contact who reached out to CarExpert and the advertised role would suggest Chery is planning a factory-backed operation in Australia.

    Ateco Australia offered no comment on a potential partnership.

    Chery has grown up significantly since its first foray into the Australian market.

    The six-strong range of ‘Tiggo’ SUVs offered overseas gives it potential rivals for everything from the Hyundai Venue to the Hyundai Santa Fe, and it also offers a Toyota Camry-sized sedan.

    It’s recently moved into the South African market with these Tiggo crossovers, while the upcoming Omoda 5 SUV will reportedly be built in right-hand drive for markets such as Malaysia and, potentially, Australia. The latter is a sharp-looking rival to the MG ZST.

    Power across the range comes from compact turbocharged petrol engines, and the latest Chery models feature an up-to-date suite of active driver assists.

    If it launches in Australia, Chery will go head-to-head with fast-growing Chinese brands GWM (Great Wall Motor, which includes Haval) and MG in the race to establish itself.

    Led by its ZS and ZST SUVs (5297 sales to date in 2022), MG has pushed into the top 10 on the local sales charts.

    GWM Haval hasn’t hit quite the same heights, but is growing strongly led by the Jolion and H6 SUVs, and GWM ute.

    Like its rivals, Chery has recently placed a focus on growing its sales outside of Chinese borders.

    As for its first attempt in Australia? Chery never hit great heights Down Under,

    Sales of the J1 city hatch, J3 hatch, and J11 SUV were slow during Chery’s first try.

    The J1, which was priced around the $10,000 mark before being removed from sale due to its lack of stability control, peaked with 434 sales in 2011 and finished with just one in 2015.

    The J11 SUV hit a sales high of 1114 cars in 2011 and finished with 84 in 2015, while the J3 hatch topped out with 468 sales.

    The brand itself sold 1822 cars in 2011, 1133 cars in 2012, 903 cars in 2013, 592 cars in 2014, and 201 cars in 2015.

    Scott Collie

    Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

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