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Chery eyes South Australia as Vic network grows

Chery ripe: The Chery Arizzo 7 sedan is under evaluation in Australia and represents the Chinese brand's move toward more desirable products.

Victorian rollout prompts South Australian ambitions now Chinese Chery has ESC

25 Apr 2014

NOW it can sell cars in Victoria, Chinese brand Chery already looking to South Australia, a market previously isolated by Chery's absence in the neighbouring state and sheer distance from west coast population centres.

Melbourne already has five suburban dealers in Cranbourne, Footscray, Frankston, Mentone and Preston, with regional centres Bairnsdale, Shepparton and Wodonga also up and running.

Mildura, Bendigo and Ballarat will open consecutively in coming weeks and months, bringing the total number of outlets to 11 by July.

Asian brand PR consultant for Chery importer Ateco Automotive, Daniel Cotterill, told GoAuto the company would like to have two dealers in Adelaide and three in South Australian regional centres.

“South Australia is really an area we need to focus on,” he said.

“We think that while the states have their own sovereignty, the situation in Victoria has profoundly affected the way we have gone in South Australia in terms of negative coverage and the fact there was no representation in Victoria, leaving South Australia fairly well isolated.”

A facelifted J11 compact SUV was launched earlier this month featuring the now mandatory electronic stability control system, a safety technology the J3 small hatch received around mid-2013.

Ateco's immediate plans are to continue expanding its Chery network as far as it can with the existing two product line-up, then bring fresh models to market.

Among these could be the Arizzo 7, a small sedan Ateco has already imported in left-hand-drive form for evaluation purposes and could be sold here as the J4 before the end of this year.

In addition to network expansion, Mr Cotterill said Ateco's priority with Chery is “bringing better, more desirable, more modern products to market as soon as we reasonably can”.

“We'll maintain the formula we've seen success with in the past, that is to make as much equipment available on the vehicle at the best possible price.”

As reported, two Chery concepts revealed at the Beijing motor show this week – penned by the brand's growing team of international designers poached from big hitters like General Motors and Porsche – point to a promising future of more desirable products.

“We think 10 (dealerships in Victoria) is pretty good from a standing start but success reinforces success when we're able to get some runs on the board with improved sales and new models, one will follow the other,” said Mr Cotterill.

He added that Ateco's growing Asian brand base – it recently took on another Chinese brand, Foton utes, to complement the existing Foton trucks operation – gives it a diversity enabling the company to offer an appealing multi-franchise package.

“From a dealership point of view, at the moment they might look at Chery and think it is not that attractive as a single brand,” explained Mr Cotterill.

“But if they have got more to offer, such as Foton, Great Wall and SsangYong, then the package becomes to look much more attractive – that really starts to add some depth that we think makes a good, sensible business case for various dealers.

“We've been fortunate enough to have a dealer network to come on board with us that is looking to the future and understands that (developing Chinese brands in Australia) is a long-term interest.”

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