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Jaecoo, Chery to operate independently in Aus

Chery sub-brand Jaecoo to set up as distinct entity Down Under with separate dealers

16 May 2024

UNLIKE fellow Chery sub-brands Tiggo and Omoda, Jaecoo will be established as a standalone brand and entity in Australia while still sharing technology, platforms and parts with the Chery line-up on models that will start hitting these shores in the second half of 2024. 

The first model on its way from “brand-new off-road brand” Jaecoo is the J7, a 4.5-metre-long all-wheel drive SUV expected to aim at the likes of the Subaru Forester and Jeep Compass, and powered by a 145kW/290Nm 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine. 
Chery Australia chief operating officer Lucas Harris told GoAuto at the launch of Chery’s latest model, the Tiggo 8 Pro Max, that while it would be possible for Jaecoo to slot under the Chery umbrella, the intention is for it have its own presence.  
“It’ll be a separate brand,” said Mr Harris, indicating that the Jaecoo range will work in a similar way to how Skoda sits alongside VW. 
“In Australia we will distribute it separately,” he said. “It will still fall under the Chery Motor Australia subsidiary, but will be separate franchise dealers ... obviously some dealers may also be Chery dealers.” 
Mr Harris clarified that in multi-franchise enviornments, Jaecoo and Chery will still have separate showrooms but that it was conceivable that in some circumstances the brands might “share a wall”. 
“Some things make sense to have some 'group' operations like parts support, like technical support, those sorts of things; it just makes sense when those platforms and powertrains and things are essentially the same," Mr Harris said. 
“We get more power that way to support customers and dealers but from a sales and brand perspective, totally separate.” 
Mr Harris intimated that Jaecoo is expected to be a slightly more premium player in the market, likely positioned a smidge above the existing Tiggo and Omoda models. 
“We are still working through some of the finer details there but I think it will definitely appeal to a different set of customers, but at the same time it's not like they're totally separate subgroups – there's going to be a big crossover,” he said. 
“They're still going to be totally suitable for everyday family use. Part of it becomes a little bit more design taste in those sorts of things as well. I think there will be some crossover, but it will attract different sorts of people,” he said. 
It is clear that the imminent competition influx about to hit the Australian market is something Chery Motor Australia is mindful of, in that it clearly wants a piece of the pie but does not want to churn and burn customers. 
“I think that our big point of difference – and we need to talk more about it – is that it's all good and well if people choose to buy the car, and everybody wants to sell as many cars as possible, but what about after the car is bought,” he said. 
“What are we going to do to stand behind the customer? It's a big investment; even a $30,000 car is a big investment, it is a huge amount of money.” 
In other markets – including New Zealand – Omoda has been set up as a separate marque, and does not wear Chery badges despite using the tech and platforms. 
Mr Harris said it was simply down to timing for the Australian market, and when Chery came here, Omoda 5 was the first offering so it was branded a Chery. 
“I think it was more of a timing thing than anything else, to be fair – Chery was launching early last year, and at that point, Omoda and Jaecoo were not separate brands,” Mr Harris said. 
“In China the Omoda 5 is also sold under Chery. I think there's one other market as well, so I think it was more of a timing thing than anything else … Omoda and Jaecoo are internationally sold as separate brands. 
“When I look at the product line-up and I look at the design language and they're very different, and they're targeting very different audiences and I think trying to reach different people,” he said.  

“And I think having shared platforms and some shared technology and shared powertrains is actually a massive advantage. It drives down costs, makes it easier to support them in the back end and those sorts of things,” Mr Harris said.

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