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Chery on sale

On sale: Chery is the third Chinese car manufacturer to sell product in Australia, beginning with the J1.

Third Chinese passenger car brand now on sale in Oz

21 Feb 2011

AUSTRALIA is now home to three Chinese passenger car brands following the arrival of Chery, China’s largest vehicle exporter, with two small cut-price models that went on sale over the weekend.

The official Chery dealer launch will not be staged until March 1 by Ateco Automotive – the same Sydney-based vehicle distributor that brought us China’s pioneering Great Wall Motors and its bargain-basement utility and SUV range – following a formal announcement of the car-maker’s local availability later this week.

However, at least one Chery dealer is already advertising “The exciting new Chery J1” with a pricetag of just $11,990 drive-away (including all on-road costs), making the pint-sized five-door five-seater Australia’s most affordable hatchback.

The new Chery hatch matches the price of Proton’s S16 G sedan – hitherto Australia’s lowest-price car – and undercuts Australia’s first sub-light-sized model, Suzuki’s Indian-built Alto four-seat hatch ($11,790 plus on-road costs), once dealer delivery and statutory charges are factored in.

Geely became Australia’s second Chinese passenger car brand after Great Wall when Perth businessman John Hughes’ company Chinese Automotive Distributors began imports of the MK light sedan – also priced at $11,990 drive-away – in West Australia last year.

62 center image From top: Chery J11, Geely CE.

As GoAuto revealed two weeks ago, the MK will be replaced by the all-new Geely CE light-car, which will go on sale nationally by the end of this year.

While Great Wall is also due to launch its first passenger car in Australia – adding to the X240 small SUV and V240 ute – at least two other Chinese vehicle brands, including JAC and Foton, are also expected to hit Australian new-car showrooms in 2011.

Chery’s diminutive S2X-series J1 – known as the A1 in China – is powered by a 1.3-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that delivers 62kW at 5750rpm and will be available only with a five-speed manual transmission.

Longer than the Alto but shorter than the three-door hatch version of Toyota’s evergreen Yaris, the J1 weighs just 1115kg and measures 3713mm long, 1578mm wide and 1575mm high. It rides on a 2390mm wheelbase and offers 160mm of ground clearance.

Standard equipment will include twin front airbags, electronic stability control (now mandatory in Victoria for all passenger cars and SUVs with compliance plates dated from January 1), ABS anti-lock brakes, air-conditioning, power windows and mirrors, front disc brakes and 14x5.0-inch wheels with 175/60 R14 tyres.

The only option will be foglights.

Ateco Automotive would not confirm pricing of Chery’s other model, the compact J11 crossover, ahead of its official launch but confirmed both vehicles will be available through a national retail network comprising about 40 dealerships.

As we’ve reported, the T1X-series J11 – known as the Tiggo in China – is powered by a 100kw 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, this time matched with both five-speed manual and four-speed automatic transmissions.

The compact five-door/five-seat SUV has a base kerb weight of 1450kg and has an unbraked towing capacity of 750kg (925kg braked).

Chery’s J11 measures 4285mm long, 1765mm wide, 1716mm high and rides on a 2510mm wheelbase. Ground clearance is 168mm and standard wheels are 16x7.0-inch with 215/65 R16 tyres, with the option of wider 235/60 tyres.

The J11 mini-SUV will have a similar standard equipment list to the J1 city-car, meaning ESC, ABS (this time with four-wheel discs), twin airbags, power windows/mirrors and remote central locking.

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