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Sorry, Holden! Chinese Chery Gemini coming to Australia next year

After a false start in Australia years ago, Chery appears to be making a new attempt.

A badge familiar to, and in hindsight loved by, Aussies will return to the local market for the first time in decades, but not in the way it once did.

The last time the Gemini badge was seen on a new car in Australia was in Holden showrooms decades ago, but now it’s showing up on a new car, an SUV from Chinese brand Chery. No relation, obviously.

The brand announced today it has imported two of its models into New South Wales for local testing before an official launch next year, with the official release calling them the Chery Gemini Tiggo 7 Pro and Tiggo 8 Pro.

Interestingly, the Gemini badge name for these two models is only set for use in Australia. In other markets, the cars are simply called ‘Chery Tiggo 7’ (or 8).

It seems to be no coincidence that Chery would want to perhaps use a differing badge name here, after the brand was driven out of the country in the mid-2010s by poor safety ratings

In 2013, the Chery J1 hatchback, which was available at the time for less than $10,000 driveaway, didn’t have basic stability control. In 2015, a fire risk had the Chery J11 SUV recalled.

Since, the brand has built up its reputation overseas and clearly hopes to return fresh, and amongst a guard of rival compatriot brands that have mostly dispelled hesitancy towards buying Chinese-made cars.

Aimed at “new rich urban people who are successful in business and have a taste for quality life”, the Chery Gemini Tiggo 8 Pro is a seven-seat large SUV with more advanced tech and safety features than its Chery predecessors.

Advanced driver assistance functions, adaptive cruise, a 12.3-inch multimedia display, and digital climate controls are all on the menu for Tiggo 8 Pro customers.

The smaller Chery Gemini Tiggo 7 Pro is an “urban entry luxury SUV” with similar, but slightly downsized features. For example, the 7 only sports a 10.25-inch multimedia touchscreen.

In a statement, the brand is keen to spruik its credentials, now boasting five development centres over the world and “a strong R&D team of 7,000 people and 14,000+ authorised patents”, comparing its “hard core strength” to the likes of established international brands.

Once the brand relaunches next year, it will aim to overtake the likes of MG, the rival Chinese brand that has recently cracked the top 10 brands in Australian sales figures.

It also has other models coming, like the Omoda 5, a car expected to arrive with a plug-in hybrid version.

Previously, Chery was sold in Australia via a distributor. This time, it’s a local arm of the OEM that’s taking charge of its presence in Oz.

Chris Thompson
Racing video games, car-spotting on road trips, and helping wash the family VL Calais Turbo as a kid were all early indicators that an interest in cars would stay present in Chris’ life, but loading up his 1990 VW Golf GTI Mk2 and moving from hometown Brisbane to work in automotive publishing in Melbourne ensured cars would be a constant. With a few years as MOTOR Magazine’s first digital journalist under his belt, followed by a stint as a staff journalist for Wheels Magazine, Chris’ career already speaks to a passion for anything with four wheels, especially the 1989 Mazda MX-5 he currently owns. From spending entire weeks dissecting the dynamic abilities of sports cars to weighing up the practical options for car buyers from all walks of life, Chris’ love for writing and talking about cars means if you’ve got a motoring question, he can give you an answer.
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