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Goodbye Holden, hello ... Chery? Australian car buyers jumping from the General, Kia, Hyundai and more into 2024 Chery Omoda 5 small SUV

Chery currently has two models on sale in Australia - the Omoda 5 and Tiggo 7 Pro.

Chinese carmaker Chery has landed in the Australian market with a bang, nabbing close to 6000 sales in 2023.

Those sales have to come at the expense of other brands, and in Chery's case, it is stealing sales from some obvious brands, as well as a recently lost favourite.

That's right, the demise of Holden has seen many rusted-on owners of what was once Australia's most popular brand take a bite out of Chery.

Which is something that has taken Chery Australia Managing Director Lucas Harris by surprise.

"The data that we've got is showing us that previously owned cars, at the moment, are predominantly Holden and Kia, which is very interesting," he told CarsGuide.

"A little less surprised with Kia. And then the further down the ranks, we're seeing the other main well-established brands, but the two that stand out are Holden and Kia, which I thought was very curious."

US giant General Motors announced the closure of its Australian subsidiary, Holden, in early 2020, and the iconic brand was wound down by the end of 2021.

Chery relaunched in Australia in March 2023 with the Omoda 5 small SUV - more than a year after Holden's final departure - before the larger Tiggo 7 Pro medium SUV landed in November 2023.

It is less surprising that Kia is the other brand that Chery has nabbed sales from given its previous positioning as a cheap and cheerful brand at the lower end of the market.

Kia has steadily moved upmarket and now sells models - the EV9, specifically - at more than $100,000, however it still offers Australia's cheapest car - the manual Picanto Sport from $17,890 before on-road costs.

Harris said there was anecdotal evidence to suggest that other higher-end brands had also lost sales to the Chinese upstart.

"Anecdotally, and we don't have any hard data, but we get a lot of feedback from dealers that we've got customers trading out of European brands... and into the Omoda 5, particularly around launch time, we saw a lot of that anecdotal feedback from dealers."

Looking at customer consideration data, Harris said there were a few more brands that Chery was lining up against Down Under.

"So when we look at our customer behaviour and some of the data that's available, we're seeing that we're considered mostly against Kia and Hyundai and GWM, so they would be sort of the main competitors that customers consider us against.

"But we think the vehicle is premium and feature-rich enough to compete with the more established Japanese brands but at a much better value-for-money proposition."

In terms of small SUV rivals from the brands it has identified, the Omoda 5 would have competed with the Holden Trax before its demise, and the Kia Stonic and Seltos, as well as the Hyundai Venue and Kona.

The Omoda 5 starts from $34,490 drive-away and tops out at $40,990.