Chery Malaysia has revealed that the Chinese car brand will officially launch here by mid-2023, with over 30 outlets set to be established. As we previously reported, several models have already been confirmed for our market, including the Tiggo 4 Pro, Tiggo 7 Pro, Tiggo 8 Pro and Omoda 5, all of which were previewed here about two months ago.
Given these cars were initially introduced in China as left-hand drive models, it was necessary for them to be reworked for Malaysia, which is a right-hand drive market. The company said that for now, this R&D work is being done in China, but moving forward, it will be moved to Malaysia.
This will see the carmaker set up an ASEAN headquarters for R&D in Malaysia as part of an initial investment plan of RM170 million. We were told that Chery chose Malaysia over neighbouring Thailand for its base because of the high market acceptance of Chinese car brands paved by the Proton-Geely partnership (consider the success of the X70 and X50).
The company added that while Thailand has its fair share of Chinese car brands too, most of them are selling electric vehicles (EVs), which is still a developing segment over there as it is here. Chery is looking at the higher volume that comes with selling internal combustion engine cars as a start.
Another reason for Chery’s preference for Malaysia is the relatively high purchasing power of car buyers here. This is compounded by the incentives provided by the government that is very welcoming of new investments from foreign companies.
Chery models will arrive here as locally-assembled (CKD) models from the start. The company said it would also bring in a few fully-imported (CBU) units for showroom use, but rest assured that all customers cars will be CKD.
One missing piece of the picture is how Chery will go about with its CKD operations, which is said to have a production capacity of 20,000 units annually, with domestic consumption being the main priority – exports may be considered later with a high enough local content in production.
Based on a report by The Edge, it is understood that Inokom will be Chery’s CKD partner pending requisite approvals from the government. The subsidiary of Sime Darby is located in Kulim, Kedah and is currently working with half a dozen car brands on CKD production, including BMW, MINI, Hyundai, Mazda, Kia and Porsche.
GALLERY: Chery Tiggo 4 Pro previewed in Malaysia
GALLERY: Chery Tiggo 7 Pro previewed in Malaysia
GALLERY: Chery Tiggo 8 Pro previewed in Malaysia
GALLERY: Chery Omoda 5 previewed in Malaysia