A new line of models is seen boosting Chery Commercial Vehicle Co's expansion into the passenger car market, to meet the growing demand for bigger vehicles.
The Anhui-based commercial vehicle maker last week launched the new series, Jetour, which targets Chinese families with a second child and those drivers who frequently use their car.
"The line-up is for customers who are keen on traveling, and for bigger families, especially those with a second child," said Bao Siyu, president of Jetour and vice-president of Chery Holding Co.
The Jetour family will have four sport utility vehicles and three multi-purpose vehicles. Together with new energy models, the complete Jetour range will number 14 models.
Li Xueyong, general manager of Jetour marketing center, said that with higher demand for mid-size and bigger SUV cars, Chinese rival producers had made significant inroads into the segments.
He believed the new Jetour series would complement the existing auto offering by Chery Holding, because Chery Automobile Co has been focusing on compacts and smaller segment vehicles.
Chinese local media reported that the entire Jetour range would be no smaller than midsize units, with options for 5, 6, or 7-seat configurations, besides fully electric, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen versions.
The SUV is the only segment that has realized solid growth. Last year SUV sales surged 15.2 percent year-on-year, while sedans declined by 3.2 percent. Multi-purpose vehicle sales dropped 18.3 percent, and mini vans decreased by 21.4 percent, according to data from the China Passenger Car Association.
Cui Dongshu, the association's secretary-general, confirmed the latest line-up was an upgraded offering aimed at the heating-up SUV market.
"It's a new sub-brand to differentiate Chery from the Chinese local peers, with value for money products offered to customers," Cui told China Daily.
The marketing opportunities for Chinese-branded SUVs largely lies chiefly in tier-three and tier-four cities, because consumers are reluctant to pay a premium for the international brands, according to Li Qingwen, president of the Car-Bingo Academy.
"The Chinese SUVs are preferred for their value for money, for their better price to quality and a performance that is continuously improving," Li said.
Yin Tongyao, president of Chery Holding, said: "We have bet on the sales of the Jetour line-up." The first models from the line-up made their debut at the launch ceremony in Beijing. The mid-size Jetour X70 and its sports version, the X70S, carry Jetour badges on the front grilles, tailgates, steering wheels, and wheel rims.
The mass-production Jetour X70 SUV will hit the local market in June this year, according to the news release.
The Jetour X70 is built on a new chassis called the iPeL - or intelligent platform of e-network and lightweight - powered by a third generation Chery 1.5-liter turbocharged ACTECO engine that has an output of 201 Newton meters, according to the company.
(China Daily 01/29/2018 page18)