The year 2021 was a challenging one for automakers. The Covid-19 pandemic entered its second year and carmakers everywhere were hampered by the semiconductor chip shortage. China’s Chery bucked the trend and recorded big growth, though.
Last year, Chery sold 961,926 units, which is not only a massive year-on-year increase of 31.7%, but a record for the Wuhu-headquartered company. Chery claims that the strong result means that it maintains the fastest growth rate in China’s automotive industry.
The nearly-1m total includes exports of 269,154 units, which is 136.3% higher year-on-year. With that, Chery retains its top ranking for the export of Chinese passenger vehicles for 19 consecutive years. The company claims a global user base of over 10 million, including 1.95 million users outside of China. Chery attributes its popularity in global markets to the “Pro” series of models, which is a far cry from the Eastar and Tiggo that some Malaysians might remember from the brand’s first stint here.
Malaysia will soon contribute to Chery’s sales. Last month, we exclusively revealed that the Chinese automaker is set to make a return to Malaysia, with the brand relaunch with a local partner expected to happen in 2022. Chery is in discussions with the potential JV partner to set up CKD local assembly operations. Details on this, and the identity of the local partner, will be revealed this year.
Unsurprisingly, potential products for Malaysia are SUVs. The Tiggo 4 Pro, Tiggo 7 Pro and Tiggo 8 Pro are prime candidates, along with new energy vehicles (China’s term for electrified vehicles) such as the tiny eQ1 EV, which would enjoy the tax incentives announced in Budget 2022. Cute Smart fortwo-style EV for well under RM100k? While we’re here, what do you think of the QQ Ice Cream?
Chery said that it is looking to have its Malaysian CKD operations ultimately providing the basis for exports to other right-hand drive markets, although the carmaker has plans for fellow ASEAN RHD country Indonesia as well.
GALLERY: Chery Tiggo 4 Pro
GALLERY: Chery Tiggo 7 Pro
GALLERY: Chery eQ1 EV