Chinese car maker Chery has been forced to drop the price of its J1 hatchback by $2000 to $9990 driveaway because of heavy discounting from well known mainstream brands such as Suzuki and Nissan, which had limboed to $11,990.
The last time a new car was sold for less than $10,000 was in the Polish-built, Fiat-derived Niki of the early 1990s. It initially had an RRP of $7990 in 1989 and dropped to $6990 between 1991 and 1993.
But buyers looking for a bargain be warned: the Chery J1 comes with only two airbags and a “marginal” three-star safety rating – and it is not eligible for sale in Victoria because it does not have stability control, a life-saving technology that became compulsory two years ago.
“This is not a special offer, this is a repositioning of the brand,” said Chery spokesman in Australia, Daniel Cotterill.
“We are trying to get a foothold here and we’re not meeting the sales projections we made when we introduced Chery in Australia,” he said.
“The market has come back to meet the Chinese brands and we’re responding accordingly. This is not a one-time offer, this is the new starting price.”