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Chery is on the cusp of a resurrection in Australia, expecting to launch two new SUVs, the small Omoda 5 and mid-size Tiggo 7 in 2023.
It seems the Chinese brand, which had a brief term in Australia from 2011-2015, is returning in force, but is also not immune to the off-road SUV and ute craze currently going on in its Chinese home market.
The Jetour T-1 is a mid-to-large SUV, featuring both five- and seven-seat layouts, said to be nearly five metres long and clearly sporting the same kind of retro off-road styling as the Tank 300, which is said to be its primary rival in China.
Chery’s Jetour sub-brand is much like GWM’s Tank sub-brand, intentionally aimed at a younger and more adventurous audience than the brand’s traditional range of SUVs and sedans. It is expected to be powered by several different engine options drawn from Chery’s current range, launching with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine mated to an eight-speed automatic.
The interior, as seen in spy photos, shows the T-1 sticking very closely to product sketches released by Chery shortly after the T-1’s concept, which debuted last year.
This includes a contemporary two-spoke steering wheel, enormous centre touchscreen, fly-by-wire shift controls, and a digital instrument cluster.
The Jetour T-1 is expected to be revealed without camouflage at the Shanghai Auto Show in April this year. The car is expected to hit the market in China in Q3 of 2023.
First up for Chery in Australia, though, will be the Omoda 5 small SUV. Said to be similar in size to the Kia Seltos, Nissan Qashqai, or Toyota Corolla Cross, the first shipment of 1000 Omoda 5s was said to be on a boat to Australia in January.
The Omoda 5 will be offered initially with a 115kW/230Nm 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, driving the front wheels via a CVT automatic, and later with the addition of a 1.6-litre turbocharged variant offering a punchier 145kW/290Nm mated to a seven-speed dual clutch auto.
In late 2023, the brand says it will then launch its larger Tiggo 7 Pro mid-size SUV with similar drivetrain options.
Speaking to CarsGuide in January 2023, Chery’s marketing manager for Australia, Zoe Zhang, said Chery had signed up over 30 dealers for its local relaunch, spurred on by the success of other Chinese-backed brands like MG.
“We’ve seen the success of MG and others in the Australian market, and we are confident of strong (sales) performance and excellent service,” she said.
It is unclear whether the Jetour sub-brand has models capable of being built in right-hand drive, but we’ll be watching this space closely.