South Africa Gets Chery
Chery continues its own Long March
By Brendan Moore
Chery, one of China’s largest auto manufacturers, has launched sales of Chery automobiles in South Africa as of May 16.
Chery is selling the J5 sedan, the Tiggo crossover and the QQ minicar in South Africa for starters. The QQ is a virtual twin of the Chevrolet Spark sold in China, a fact that did not escape GM’s attention when the QQ came out in China, as GM engaged in a long court battle over infringement. The QQ is currently sold in other countries outside of China, but it is apparent that GM has decided to not pursue litigation against Chery in those countries. GM has, however, warned Chery it will sue if the company tries to sell the Chery QQ anywhere on the European continent.
The 800 cc QQ is immediately the lowest-priced car sold in South Africa at $7995 USD. The home market price in China is as low as $4000. The J5’s African price starts at 18,400 and the Tiggo starts at $21,100.
Chery is also throwing hints all over the place about setting up knock-down kit assembly plants in South Africa, but only as a first step towards a production plant. Chery is one of China’s largest and most aggressive vehicle exporters and currently has local kit assembly operations in Russia, Ukraine, Uruguay, Egypt, Iran and Indonesia. The Chinese company built around 400,000 cars last year and currently sells cars in 55 countries. Chery plans to launch 38 new cars in the next five years and says that they plan to produce 1 million cars by 2010.
Little known fact: Chery was originally supposed to be “Cheery”, but for some reason now unknown to everyone at the company, someone left out the second “e” when the original marketing materials were prepared, and the Chery name stuck.
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