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Chery's Soaring Success: Record Sales in South Africa Challenge Auto Industry Norms

Published December 29, 2023
7 months ago

The South African automotive industry has witnessed a shakeup as Chery, the Chinese car manufacturer, posts a record-breaking 25.1% sales growth in 2023, despite an overall industry downturn. As a journalist who has been tracking this market closely, it's important to note the changing winds that Chery SA's success signifies.

For years, skepticism clouded Chinese automakers, but brands like Chery have turned the tide with a focus on meeting consumer needs through competitive pricing and rich specifications. With a record growth globally of 47.8% from January to November, the brand has not only caught the eye of South African consumers but has also positioned itself as a formidable player in the global automotive industry.

The introduction of the Tiggo 4 Pro and its more affordable sibling, the Tiggo 4 Pro LiT, signaled Chery SA's aggressive push into the sub-R300K market segment. The robust portfolio expansion with the Tiggo 7 and Tiggo 8 further solidified the brand's market stance. Despite my initial reluctance, the numbers and consumer enthusiasm made it impossible to ignore Chery’s impact.

The Omoda C5 drew significant attention with its futuristic design, and strategic brand positioning aimed at a technology-savvy, style-conscious demographic. Chery's knack for strategic hires, such as Kevin Rice and Steve Eum, indicates a deep understanding of the importance of design and innovation in capturing new markets.

The real game-changer was the test drive of the new Tiggo 7 Pro Max, a sophisticated SUV with a multilink suspension system offering a harmonious balance of comfort and control. With a new turbocharged engine and a 7-speed DCT gearbox, it promises performance alongside safety, featuring an array of eight airbags and a suite of driver aids.

The Tiggo 7 Pro Max elevates the driving experience with its Sony audio system, 360-degree camera system, dual 12.3-inch screens, and a panoramic sunroof, backed by 64 ambient lighting options. The top-end executive variants couple luxury with practicality, though fuel consumption requires a closer look.

The Omoda C5 GT, a sporty incarnation of the C5 range, provides a spirited drive with upgraded power, a refined dual-clutch automatic gearbox, and stylish rose-gold accents. It is essential to note the importance of the model’s 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating, showcasing Chery's commitment to safety alongside design and performance.

Looking to sustain momentum, Chery SA is poised for a dynamic 2024, with plans to launch an all-new brand Jaecoo, introduce plug-in hybrid variants, debut the C9 flagship, and unveil the Omoda E5 electric vehicle. The manufacturer's strategy seems clear – commitment to innovation, keeping an eye on sustainability trends, and delivering vehicles aligned with consumer preferences.

Chery's success story in South Africa is not an isolated incident. Instead, it reflects a global trend wherein Chinese automakers are gaining ground, as highlighted by China surpassing Japan as the world leader in car exports in 2023. The trajectory of Chery in South Africa could well be a forecast for the automotive market globally.

In conclusion, Chery SA's accolades and upcoming launches signify a shift in consumer perception and industry standards. South Africans are witnessing an automotive revolution, where value for money, technological innovation, and strategic market positioning are defining success – a narrative now strongly associated with Chery.

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