|Founded||March 18, 1997|
|Headquarters||Wuhu, Anhui, China|
|Yin Tongyue (Chairman)|
Chery Jaguar Land Rover (50%)|
|Literal meaning||Chery Automobile Co., Ltd.|
Chery Automobile Co., Ltd., trading as Chery and sometimes known by the pinyin transcription of its Chinese name, Qirui (奇瑞), is a Chinese automobile manufacturer headquartered in Wuhu, Anhui Province, China. It was founded by the Government of China in 1997 and is a state-owned corporation. Chery's principal products are passenger cars, minivans, and SUVs; it sells passenger cars under the Chery marque and commercial vehicles under the Karry brand. Chery is the tenth-largest China-based automaker measured by 2012 output (around 590,000 units).
Chery began the production of automobiles in 1999 and their export from China in 2001. It has been China's largest passenger car exporter since 2003, and in 2011 exported around 25% of its total production. It operates a 50:50 joint venture with Kenon Holdings, Qoros, which was formed in 2007 and sells a range of premium vehicles in emerging markets. In 2012, Jaguar Land Rover formed 50:50 joint venture Chery Jaguar Land Rover for the production of Jaguar and Land Rover cars in China with Chery.
Chery has several vehicle assembly and component manufacturing facilities in mainland China, and its vehicles are assembled in around 15 other countries—primarily in factories not owned by the company that utilize either complete or semi-complete knock-down kits. It has two domestic R&D centers and invests around 7% of its total revenues in product development. Its QQ city car, considered to be the best-known Chery model, spawned a sub-brand in its own right; the QQ6 and the QQme are two other cars produced by the company, and the original QQ may now be designated the QQ3.
In the early 2000s, Chery received criticism from General Motors for alleged infringement of its intellectual property rights.
1997 to 2010
Chery was founded in 1997 as a state-owned enterprise by a group of officials from Anhui province and began automobile production in 1999 using a chassis licensed from Volkswagen's SEAT Toledo. Called the Fengyun, Chery's first car sold nearly 30,000 units.
The Wall Street Journal has described Chery's corporate culture as "an odd hybrid of Communist state enterprise and entrepreneurial start-up", and entrepreneurial risk-taking is evident in its early history. Initial production was technically illegal as the company was only awarded a passenger car production license in 2003, and so while its first product rolled off the line in December 1999, it couldn't be legally sold until 2001. In that year Chery solved the problem by piggybacking on a SAIC Motor license, which it did until 2003. Perhaps the 20% ownership stake in Chery that SAIC once held was compensation for this early favor, but the ownership was soon sold due to rising tensions between Chery and another SAIC partner, General Motors. GM is not the only foreign partner of SAIC to have been exasperated with Chery; Volkswagen claims Chery was using tooling from an old VW factory to produce a model that resembled a Jetta c. 2003.
In the late 2000s, Chery began to actively seek a partnership with a foreign automaker, a hallmark of major Chinese car makers. Tie-ups with both Chrysler and Fiat were touted but fell through. In 2007, Chrysler planned a cooperation with Chery that would have seen the Chery A1 sold as a Dodge-brand car in the US and abroad. The plan would have quickly increased the Chrysler small car stable, and the two companies participated in a signing ceremony in late 2007. In early 2008, a similar deal was reached between Chrysler and Nissan, however, and the Chrysler-Chery cooperation was abandoned. Around the time of the 2009 Chrysler Chapter 11 reorganization, Chrysler discussed the possibility of an asset sale with Chery.
In 2007, Fiat and Chery signed a memorandum of understanding for the creation of a car-making joint venture. Intended to begin operations in 2009, it was to manufacture Fiat and Alfa Romeo-branded products for the Chinese market and be located in Wuhu, Anhui province. The deal was put on hold in March 2009. As of 2012, Fiat produces in China with local partner GAC Group.
In October 2009, Chery announced plans for an assembly plant in Turkey to be built in cooperation with the Turkish automaker Mermerler Otomotiv at a cost of $500 million. The plant is planned to have an initial capacity of 20,000 units per year, rising to 100,000 by 2017. As of 2012, the plant has yet to commence production. When it comes online, this production base will add to a handful of joint venture factories that Chery has in places like Argentina and Iran. These stand in contrast to a number of factories outside China that assemble Chery vehicles but in which Chery does not have an ownership stake.
In 2009, Chery produced 508,500 units, and at this time it had an annual production capacity of around 650,000 units. More than 400,000 of its 2009 sales were sedans. Production capacity figures may consider engines and vehicles as discrete.
2010 to present
Chery became the 7th most-productive Chinese vehicle manufacturer in 2010 by selling nearly 700,000 units. Slipping sales marked 2011 and 2012; in these years the company produced more than 640,000 and near 590,000 units, respectively, and it moved from a seventh to a tenth-place ranking. This decrease may be due to Chery's manufacturing mix being significantly different than that of other, major Chinese automakers; the company does make commercial vehicles but SUVs comprise only 14% of its product line.
An agreement with Tata Motors was struck in March 2012 to produce Jaguar Land Rover models in China. In 2013, a Tata executive stated that this deal was "still on track", and some expect the planned production base to start output in 2014.
In June 2012, plans to build a production base in Malaysia were announced, and as of July 2012 this project is proceeding without a local partner. The planned factory will have a production capacity of 10,000 units per year.
After having introduced the Karry, Rely, and Riich sub-brands in 2009, its sprawling production policy and lineup became a problem for Chery. With over 100 new models in the works, Chery decided in the fall of 2012 to cancel the Rely and Riich brands and to narrow its focus. As of 2012, 30 new models are planned a significant reduction from the prior future lineup.
Chery's main production base in the mainland of China is located in Anhui. As of 2007, the company had two auto-making production bases, two engine-making facilities, and a gearbox production base. Another car-making production base located in Dalian, Liaoning province, became operational in 2012.
There are a number of factories in developing countries that manufacture Chery vehicles from either complete or semi-complete knock-down kits. With the exception of an Argentinian cooperation and an Iranian factory, these are not owned by Chery. As of the beginning of 2012, 13 operational factories produced Chery vehicles and an additional three were in development.
Chery has a production base in Jacarei, Brazil, that began construction in July 2011, in a joint effort with the government of the state of São Paulo. The plant began operating in August 2014, with a first phase production capacity of 50,000 units per year. In phase two, the plant will achieve an annual production capacity of 150,000 units. The models produced are the hybrid-powered Celer and the QQ.
Assembly of Chery cars from complete knock-down kits began in Egypt in 2004 according to the company itself, but news reports indicate that it only expressed initial interest in doing so that year. As of 2011, some Chery models may be sold here under the brand name Speranza. One Egyptian factory making Chery models from semi-complete knock-down kits had a 2009 production capacity of 30,000 vehicles/year.
In this country, Chery models have been assembled from knock-down kits since 2006.
Manufacture from kits in Iran dates from as early as 2004. In late 2007, Chery stated that it held a minority ownership in a joint venture with Iranian Khodro and Canadian Solitac as its partners. This JV controlled a knock down factory in Babol, Mazandaran. Making a QQ6 renamed the S21, it may be sold both inside and outside Iran and carry a brand name other than Chery, as well.
A small facility may have become operational c. 2004, and by 2008, a factory assembling Chery models from knock-down kits opened in Johor Bahru, Johor. As of 2012, another factory is expected to be built and operational in Malaysia by 2015.
In 2008, Chery agreed to export knock-down kits to this country, and while an assembly factory was supposed to have become operational in 2010, as of late 2011 Xinhua reported that Chery was conducting a "feasibility study" in regards to "moving production to Thailand".
A production site was planned to be raised in the province of Sakarya, in a collaboration with the local Chery dealer, Mermerler Otomotiv.
Chery has been a partner of ZAZ since 2006 and manufactures from kits at sites in Zaporizhia and Illichivsk. Since February 2011, the Chery A13 is manufactured in Ukraine where it is rebadged as a ZAZ Forza.
First introduced to this country in mid-2006, Chery vehicles continued to be the only licensed Chinese car exports to Venezuela as of 2011 according to the company. Opened in September 2011, a new Chery production site in the north-central state of Aragua, owned by the ZGT joint venture, produces the A1 and A3 models.
Between 2007 and 2015, Argentinian company SOCMA Group manufactured Chery vehicles in the Oferol factory in Barra de Carrasco, Canelones, Uruguay. The Tiggo was officially launched in Uruguay in October 2007. The plant was permanently closed as of May 2015.
Chery Jaguar Land Rover
In March 2012, Chery and the UK-based luxury automaker Jaguar Land Rover agreed to invest an initial US$2.78 billion in a new China-based joint venture that will sell and manufacture Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles and engines as well as establish a research and development facility and create a new "own-brand" automobile marque. The joint venture received regulatory approval in September 2012. An initital production base will be built in Changshu, a county-level city close to Shanghai.
Its first car-making joint venture with a foreign firm, Qoros was established by Chery in cooperation with an Israeli company, Israel Corporation, in 2007 and planned to begin sales in 2013. Set to unveil a sedan atop a brand-new platform at the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show, Qoros' debut models will not be electric vehicles (as some sources may have reported). A proposed production base for the venture will be built in Changshu, Jiangsu province, and become operational in 2012. Production capacity will be 150,000 units a year, but the location may not run at full capacity until 2015 or 2016. While Qoros professes its desire to sell to young city dwellers in China and Europe, the brand could very well target fast-growing countries in the Middle East as well as later sell electric vehicles in warm, tiny Israel. The company does have plans to include electric vehicles in its lineup.
Higher-end Qoros cars are built with components and systems from foreign suppliers such as American Visteon and French Valeo. Its engine design also required assistance from a foreign firm, and Qoros has attracted western talent including former employees of Volkswagen and Mini. It has sites in Austria and Germany as of 2012.
Products and services
From 2009 until around 2013, Chery vehicles sold under four brand names: Chery, Karry, Rely, and Riich. In September 2012, Chery announced the cancellation of the last two brands. Only the Chery (passenger cars) and the Karry brand (for commercial vehicles) are to remain.
Chery makes cars, minivans, and SUVs. The parts used in their manufacture may be foreign designed, and some may be imported; Chery has cooperative agreements with many foreign component firms, including the American ArvinMeritor, American Autoliv, American Delphi Automotive, the Australian company Futuris, German Robert Bosch GmbH, American PPG Industries, German Siemens VDO, French Valeo, and the American Visteon. Some have helped Chery establish a local supply chain.
- 1999–2006 Fulwin/Windcloud (风云) (codename A11) — 1.6 L sedan
- 2006–2010 Chery A5 — 1.6, 1.8, 2.0L sedan
- 2003-2013 Chery A15 — 1.5 L sedan
- 2003 QQ/QQ3 (codename S11) — 0.8 L—1.1 L city car
- 2003 Eastar (东方之子) (codename B11) — mid-size sedan
- 2005 Tiggo (瑞虎) (codename T11) — 1.6 L—2.4 L compact SUV
- 2006 Karry Youyi — a small panel van, Chery A18 — MPV
- 2006 QQ6 (codename S21) — 1.1 L & 1.3 L city car
- 2006 S22 — MPV
- 2006 V5/Eastar5 (codename B14) — 1.6 L—2.4 L minivan
- 2007 A1 (codename S12) — 1.2 L, 1.3 L city car
- 2008 A3 (codename M11) — 1.6 L—1.8 L sedan/hatchback
- 2009 QQme (codename S16) — city car
- 2009 G5 (codename A6) — 2.0T
- 2009 M1 (codename S18) — city car of which an EV-version also exists<
- 2009 A13 Fulwin 2
- 2011 E5 – compact sedan
- 2012 E8 (or Eastar II) — Midsize sedan
- 2013 Arrizo 7 — Midsize sedan
- H5 — van (Based on Toyota Hiace H200 platform)
- Q21/Q21D – small van
- Q22/Q22B – small van
- X1 – SUV
- X5 – SUV
Chery currently offers a few hybrid and full-electric models, and it has established a tentative agreement with a foreign company for mass-production. China subsidizes oil (an incentive for the State to encourage use and manufacture of electric cars), and some of its automakers see opportunities in less mature electric vehicles because Western companies have yet to develop much of a lead in the technology.
C. 2011, Chery stated that it was investing heavily in research and development of electric cars, and three hybrid as well as two all-electric models were listed on its website as of 2012. Hybrid models may use a start-stop system solely.
Chery has been the top Chinese auto exporter since 2003, and many of its exports may be in the form of knock-down kits destined for overseas assembly. The fact that, prior to 2012, it lacked a joint venture with an established western automaker may explain its export focus; a 2009 report by the US Congressional Research Service asserted that such joint ventures, commonplace in the Chinese auto industry, restrained overseas sales.
Making its first export to Syria in 2001, as of 2010 Chery was the top exporter among Chinese automakers, a title it held since 2003. Many of these exports may be in the form of knock-down kits. One of Chery's strategic goals is to expand in developing countries first and then in developed countries.
Selling in several other continents besides, Chery dealerships exist in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Iran, Serbia, Macedonia, Turkey and Italy through the DR Motor Company. Other notable nations where Chery models are on offer as of 2016 include Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Africa. In Ukraine, Chery models are sold by UkrAVTO Corp, and partner firms operate sales outlets in other markets as well. In some nations, companies Chery cooperates with build models in their own small factories.
As of early 2011, the Tiggo was Chery's most popular model in export markets.
Chery participated in the Dakar Rally in 2010 and 2011, racing with Rely X5 SUVs in both editions.
Some Chery models have received good marks for safety, however. In 2009, the A3 received a five-star safety rating in the Chinese new-car-safety tests, C-NCAP, becoming the first indigenous car to achieve such a high-test rating. The Chery Riich G3 has also been awarded a five-star rating.
In June 2003 American company General Motors sued Chery accusing it of copying the first generation Daewoo Matiz (developed by a GM subsidiary, GM Daewoo) in its design for the Chery QQ. General Motors also claimed a disguised Matiz was used in a crash test in place of the Chery car.
GM executives claimed design duplication with many parts interchangeable between the QQ and the Matiz, and GM China Group stated the two vehicles, "shared remarkably identical body structure, exterior design, interior design and key components."
While some Chery cars are not copies, such as the Pininfarina-designed A3, the QQ may not be the sole Chery model that wears famous-name designs; the Chery Tiggo is criticized for resembling the second generation Toyota RAV4. Other model using the Matiz technology found in the QQ include the closely related QQ6. The Eastar and its derivatives (V4, B12, and B22) have also been considered to be copies of the Daewoo Magnus.
After mediation attempts failed, then-GM Daewoo (now known as GM Korea) brought a case against Chery in a Shanghai court, but by 2005 jurisdiction had been moved to the Beijing No.1 Intermediate People's Court.
Around that time Chinese state officials, including a vice-minister of commerce and a vice-director of the State Intellectual Property Office, publicly supported Chery. The Chinese have claimed that GM didn't properly patent their technology. In late 2005 the lawsuit was settled.
Bricklin U.S. court case
An American entrepreneur with past experience importing developing country autos to the U.S., Malcolm Bricklin, sued Chery in 2008 for contracting a different company after previously contracting Bricklin.
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