The MG is currently Australia’s single top-selling small SUV with 18 per cent segment share – a remarkable effort. And while the Haval hasn’t done quite that well, it still owns 5 per cent segment share and has outgunned the better-known Honda HR-V this year.
The next cab off the rank will be the Chery Omoda 5, a sharp-looking crossover that will hit Australia in 2022, and looks set to ramp up in earnest in 2023 once the highly ambitious company gets itself established here.
Remember Chery? It had an unsuccessful crack at the Aussie market between 2011 and 2014 with the budget J1 and J3 hatchbacks, and J11 small SUV, through a deal with independent distributor Ateco.
But Chinese brands move fast, and its products look to have come a hell of a long way inside the past decade. As someone unfortunate enough to have driven a J1 many moons ago, that’s good to see, because it was a shocker.
As we reported last week, Chery claims to be well down the track preparing for its Australian relaunch, this time through a factory-backed operation.
It has nothing official by way of dealer appointments, but is advertising roles in Sydney including that of Branding Manager.
The first product it sells, which is expected to arrive in the next few months for early market evaluation (if not full sales), is an edgy-looking small crossover called the Omoda 5, a vehicle developed with exports beyond China firmly in mind.
“Omoda 5 will be an important model that Chery will introduce to the global market… when it is launched in Asia, South America, Australia, Africa, and Europe,” the company says.
So what does this Omoda 5 bring to the table, and why does it stand a good chance of success in these times of growing economic hardship and dramatically ramped-up prices from established brands?
Two small turbo-petrol engines are listed on the spec sheet: a 115kW and 230Nm 1.5-litre mated to a CVT, and a 145kW and 290Nm 1.6-litre using a seven-speed dual-clutch auto – both front-wheel drive.
However, the company says to expect ‘new energy’ electrified offerings as well as all-wheel drive as well.
Base grades pair MacPherson strut front suspension with a simple torsion beam rear, whereas the more powerful 1.6-litre models use a multi-link rear setup.
Available features depending on spec grade include include LED lights, sunroof, in-car WiFi hotpot, proximity key, heated seats, wireless phone charging, powered tailgate, and paired digital instrument and centre displays measuring a combined 24.6 inches.
Stay tuned for more on Chery Australia, with some market-specific information promised in the next month or two. Tell us your thoughts on the car in the comments.