The History Of Chery

"Chery" redirects here. For similar words, see Cherry (disambiguation) or Cherie (disambiguation).

Chery Automobile (English pronunciation: [ˈʃɛɹiː]) (simplified Chinese: 奇瑞汽车; traditional Chinese: 奇瑞汽車; pinyin: Qíruì Qìchē) is an automobile manufacturer in China. The intended English transliteration of "Qíruì" was "Cheery", but it was transliterated as "Chery" by mistake, and the company decided to retain the originally-errorneous transliteration.[citation needed]

It is owned by the local government of Wuhu (but is scheduled to be privatized), and sold about 381,000 vehicles in 2007. It is the largest independent Chinese auto manufacturer and one of the fastest growing automakers in the world.

Early years

Chery was founded in 1997 to prop up the economy of Wuhu, a region of China that has received little industrial development in 1995. Its first factory used machines and engine technology purchased from Ford Europe for US$25 million. It began auto production in 1999 using a licenced chassis from SEAT's Toledo. The company was an illegitimate company under Chinese law of the time and had to be registered as a "Car Parts Supplier." Thus, the company was not able to obtain a license to sell their cars in all of China. In 2001, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) bought a 20% stake in the company, allowing Chery to use SAIC's national retail sales license. In 2001, Chery began exporting its cars to Syria, becoming China's first car exporter. Chery also received its ISO-9001 certification. In September 2002, Chery received its ISO/ TS 16949 certification, the highest certification at the time.

2003 to present

In 2003, Chery founded a research and development organization, and began working with foreign consultant firms to improve its technology and quality. Chery hired a Japanese engineer from Mitsubishi to head Chery's Lean/ Six Sigma production systems, which were first applied to their cars in 2003. They adopted DURR Paint Systems in their paint shop in 2004, becoming one of only 5 factories in the world to have this advanced paint system. SAIC sold its stock back to Chery in 2004 due to rising tension between Chery and its other partners General Motors and Volkswagen

In 2005, Chery was upgraded to ISO/ TS 16949:2002 production quality, the highest and strictest quality control system in the global auto industry. They also began working with Malcolm Bricklin's company, Visionary Vehicles, hoping to be one of the first Chinese automobiles sold in the United States. The plan was to import five new car lines. Bricklin planned to have 250 dealers in the United States selling 250,000 cars a year by 2007. However, after two delays and various disagreements over finances and car design, the deal broke down.

Instead, Chery is pursuing its own export plans and is designing a large array of cars for the American and European market and Chinese market. Aesthetic design is being aided by Bertone and Pininfarina of Italy known for their designs for Ferrari and Lamborghini. AVL of Austria is also working with Chery to produce 18 engines, including a turbodiesel, for the new line of cars. The new engine brand, called ACTECO, meets Euro IV emissions standards and uses advanced technologies such as aluminium alloy cylinder blocks/ heads and direct fuel injection. Bosch is helping Chery to design modern transmissions. Lotus Engineering (known for their racing car chassis expertise) is aiding Chery in car design and quality. Ricardo Consulting Engineers is also devolping a hybrid powertrain for Chery for use on China's first hybrid vehicle. Chery recently entered into a partnership with Chrysler to produce mid to compact vehicles for the United States and European market.

In September 2007, Senegal's first lady Vivian Wade announced a program called "Taxi Sister" to promote women taxi drivers - the first program of its kind in a 95% Muslim nation. The taxis are Chery QQ, being supplied by a local Chery dealership, and the women drivers are gradually paying for and will eventually own the taxis.

Chery gained international notoriety over well-publicized illegal copying of foreign automobiles, namely General Motors' Korean subsidiary GM Daewoo Auto & Technology's Daewoo Matiz (sold as Chery QQ) city car and Daewoo Magnus (sold as Chery Eastar) mid-size sedan. Chery attempted to negotiate a local Chinese production licenses of those vehicles with bankrupt Daewoo Motors prior to General Motors' purchase of the bankrupt automaker's assets in 2002, but the negotiations were never closed. Nevertheless, Chery proceeded with the production of these former Daewoo vehicles without a formal license, triggering General Motors to sue Chery for copying in December 2004, citing "extreme similarities".

With General Motors' inability to seek justice at Chinese court that fails to honor foreign IP rights in spite of an obvious and clear piracy case and the pressure from Chinese communist party, GM opted to drop its case in November 2005 to preserve its business interests in China and maintain good will with the government. However, GM reserves rights to sue Chery again if it attempts to bring the vehicles in question to European and North American markets. The affected vehicles are three Matiz clone and derivatives (QQ3, QQ6 and A1) and Magnus clone and derivatives (Eastar, V4, B12, and B22). The IP rights issue has become such a concern that DCX is rumored to have contacted GM for possible licensing of GM Daewoo vehicle IP on the behalf of Chery after it signed a 25-year cooperation and exclusive distribution agreement with Chery in early 2007.

Chery produces most of its cars in China. In 2003, Chery built a plant in Iran, China's first foreign car plant, and at the Modiran Vehicle Manufacturing Company saw its QQ put into production in 2005. Also in 2005, a CKD facility became operational in Russia at Avtotor. Chery is planning to begin production in Malaysia in late 2006 and saw its cars being built at the former Daewoo Motor Egypt plant at Maddi, Cairo under the Speranza brand name. Chery has signed an agreement with Argentine conglomerate Socma to form Chery Mercosur, a joint-venture which will produce the QQ and Tiggo in Montevideo, Uruguay, from 2007 onwards.

  • 2000: ~2,000
  • 2001: ~28,000
  • 2002: ~50,000
  • 2003: ~90,000 (8th in China)
  • 2004: ~86,000 (10th in China)
  • 2005: ~188,000 (5th in China)
  • 2006: 307,232
  • 2007: 427,882

Out of production

  • 1999–2006 Fulwin/ Windcloud (风云) (codename A11) — 1.6L sedan

In production

  • 2003– QQ3 (codename S11) — 0.8L & 1.1L city car
  • 2003– Cowin (旗云) (codename A15) — 1.5L 1.6L sedan
  • 2003– Eastar (东方之子) (codename B11) — mid-size sedan
  • 2005– Tiggo (瑞虎) (codename T11) — 1.6L & 2.0L & 2.4L compact SUV
  • 2006– A5 (codename A21) — 1.5L, 1.6L & 2.0L sedan
  • 2006– V5 (codename B14) — 1.8L, 2.0L & 2.4L minivan
  • 2006- QQ6 (codename S21) — 1.1L & 1.3L city car
  • 2006- Karry a small panel van.
  • 2007- A1 (codename S12) - 1.2L 1.3L city car
  • 2008- A3 (codename M11) - 1.6L 1.8L city car

Upcoming models

  • 2006- codename S22
  • 2007- codename T15
  • 2007- codename B12
  • 2007- codename S16
  • 2007- codename B13
  • 2008- codename M14
  • 2008- codename P12
  • 2008- codename F11
  • 2008- codename B22

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