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Chinese car brand Chery to blossom back in SA in 2021

The brand is set to return with a bevy of good-looking SUVs and a promise to stay

The Chery Tiggo 4 Pro is the entry model in the new range that will be on sale later this year.
The Chery Tiggo 4 Pro is the entry model in the new range that will be on sale later this year.
Image: SUPPLIED

Chinese brand Chery was first introduced here in 2008, selling models like the Tiggo compact SUV and the Chery QQ hatchback before making a quiet exit in 2018. Now it’s making a return.

Previously imported into the country by the Imperial Group (now Motus), the brand is relaunching in the fourth quarter of the year, this time as a wholly owned subsidiary of the international brand with representation across more than 80 countries and regions.

An initial 30 dealerships with service workshops and a large parts warehouse are planned and they will be located across the main provinces. Chery SA will also offer a mechanical warranty, service plan and a 24-hour roadside assistance service.

The company says it’s investigating the viability of the local introduction of its global Chery app, available on both iOS and Android, which will allow owners to monitor their vehicle’s health and to connect directly with Chery SA to book a service or to interact with a customer service team.

The brand that once marketed the Chery QQ as SA’s cheapest new car is returning with a new and advanced trio of Tiggo Pro SUV ranges: the Tiggo 4 Pro, Tiggo 7 Pro and Tiggo 8 Pro.

The Tiggo 4 Pro is the smallest and accommodates four to five passengers to compete in the segment of the Peugeot 2008 and Haval Jolion, among others.

The Tiggo 7 Pro is larger, seats five and is positioned to rival the likes of the Peugeot 3008. The Tiggo 8 Pro is a seven-seat soccer mom’s MPV.

The Tiggo 7 Pro is the middle model that seats up to five passengers.
The Tiggo 7 Pro is the middle model that seats up to five passengers.
Image: SUPPLIED

We didn't get to drive them, but the static test seemed to bear good news. All are tastefully styled SUVs inside and out, with bold mesh grilles, chrome inserts, bright LED lights and interiors brimming with digitalised dashboards and solid-feeling surface textures.

They will launch with a trio of four-cylinder engines and two transmissions on offer.

The Tiggo 4 Pro is powered by a naturally-aspirated 1.5l that can be paired to a manual or CVT automatic; the Tiggo 7 Pro gets a turbo 1.5l with a CVT gearbox, and the Tiggo 8 Pro is propelled by a turbocharged 1.6l with outputs of 145kW and 290Nm, and managed by a CVT.

Tony Liu, Executive Deputy GM, Chery SA, explains that after first making its products available to importers locally, Chery reinvented itself as a technology and design leader and the benchmark for customer service, both at home in China and elsewhere.

Liu says that the first Chery vehicles for sale will arrive on local shores in late 2021, and the company has been testing vehicles in local conditions, recruiting dealers in key areas, and growing its parts storage and distribution capabilities.

“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,” he says.

Pricing and more product information will be made available closer to their launch date towards the end of 2021.  

The Tiggo 8 Pro will be the range-topping model which accommodates seven passengers.
The Tiggo 8 Pro will be the range-topping model which accommodates seven passengers.
Image: SUPPLIED

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