Will fourth time be the charm for Chery?
A few weeks ago, we wrote about how United Asia Automotive Group, Inc. (UAAGI), the same corporation behind the successful operations of Foton in the Philippines, is set to become the new distributor of Chery automobiles.
Now we can fully confirm it as Mr. Rommel Sytin, the President of UAAGI, has just formally signed the distributorship agreement with the President of Chery International, Mr. Zhang Guibing, in Wuhu, China. That means Sytin's group will become the new distributor of the brand, and the fourth chance for Chery to break through the Philippine market.
But what will set UAAGI's distributorship of Chery apart from the three prior unsuccessful and short-lived attempts by other companies?
For starters, UAAGI was impressed by how Chery has moved on (mostly) from manufacturing cloned versions of other models from other brands like the QQ (cloned Daewoo Matiz/Chevrolet Spark) or the Tiggo (cloned second generation Toyota RAV4). The company has made a significant leap forward by investing heavily in terms of research and development, design, and product quality control. They also added that Chery had employed some key people to head certain departments, particularly executives enticed from other companies such as BMW.
For now, we cannot divulge what exact models Chery will bring to the Philippine market, but what we can tell you is that Chery will not be bringing the passenger car models, including the QQ (which has since been updated). Instead, UAAGI will go for just the brand's crossover models; four of them, to be exact.
Now there are three sub-brands under Chery for export: the Arrizo for passenger cars, the Exeed line for upscale crossovers, and the Tiggo for mass-market crossovers. The Arrizo line will not be offered, meaning the Exeed and Tiggo ranges are the only possibilities, and you're free to guess which ones will arrive.
Interestingly enough, Chery still produces the Tiggo 3 (RAV4 clone) but that has since been modernized in design and features. What we can also confirm is that Chery Philippines will not import the Tiggo 3.
What UAAGI will have to work on with Chery is brand building, or brand re-building. Given the history of the brand with the previous distributors, UAAGI has an uphill battle ahead of them. But we expect them to use their vast 13 years of experience and success with another Chinese brand, Foton Motor, to help build up their new partnership with Chery.
We'll be keeping an eye on the developments when UAAGI officially commences operations as the distributor of Chery in the Philippines. They will launch the brand before the end of the 2019. Pricing will also be released at a later time.