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Chery engages Australian input

Australian specialists engaged by Chery for local safety tech tuning, dynamics next

4 Dec 2023

THE Chery Tiggo 7 Pro medium SUV that launched in Australia last week was the first of the Chinese car-maker’s products to be put through local testing prior to sale, with the focus on active safety systems following criticism of the smaller Omoda 5 intrusive driver aids.


With the ambitious brand’s return to Australia after a seven-year hiatus comes the promise that this local market will get its own safety and dynamics input, as well as research and development with experts to help ensure its models can achieve a five-star ANCAP safety rating.


Newly appointed Chery Australia managing director Lucas Harris told GoAuto that the new Tiggo 7 Pro has undergone “just short of 50,000km of road adaptation in Australia prior to launch”.


He said this was “largely focused on driver support systems and making sure that they work as best as they can in local conditions which are very varied”.


While the new Tiggo 7 Pro has, according to Mr Harris, “basically been to every capital city and everywhere in between during the validation and adaptability program”, he admitted that no suspension tuning or feedback was included for this model, but would be in the future.


“One of the main focuses for us with Tiggo 7 Pro and other models moving forward was having local adaptability and validation of the vehicle, not just safety systems which is the focus for everyone, but the car more generally – the ride and handling, the dynamic feeling,” he added.


“You’ll see that in future generations – the fruit of that labour”.


Chery’s return to Australia, replacing the previous independent importer Ateco with its own factory operation this time, has been criticised over the poor ADAS tuning with the Omoda 5 and its over-intrusive nature.


The brand did not have a great reputation for safety when it left Australia in 2016 – for example, the Chery J11 small SUV achieved a two-star ANCAP rating but Mr Harris said the company wants to avoid crash test safety issues with its new models, and has taken steps to avoid them.


“We’re committed to doing safety testing in Australia,” he said, clarifying that the brand had engaged a firm to do crash-testing locally to make sure of ANCAP compatibility.


“We had a pre-test program, before we went through the official ANCAP testing. The reason we want to do this local testing is, it’s good to get local experts involved, who understand our market, and it’s a good way to invest in testing in Australia.”


Chery Australia will broaden this safety work locally according to Mr Harris, with Chery Australia employing safety experts.


“We’re in the process now of employing our own experts, that have come from local industry, but are looking for partners who are specialised in that area also,” he concluded.

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