If you're looking to break into the automotive business, there's a Chinese auto company that's very open to a local partner, and it wants to prove that the fourth time could be the charm.
It appears that Chery is looking for a new and exclusive distributor in the Philippines, based on an advertisement we spotted.
The online advertisement led to a “Contact Us” page on Chery's International site, leading us to think it's a legitimate -albeit unusual- call out for a new distributor.
As some of you may be familiar, Chery is a Chinese automotive company. Chery is owned by the Chinese government and is based in Wuhu, a city located in Anhui Province which is just west of Shanghai.
Chery is one of China's largest automakers, though their models have been rather controversial given that many are unlicensed and unauthorized reproductions of models from other automakers. Their small crossover, the Tiggo, had a lot of similarities to the 2nd generation Toyota RAV4. Models like the QQ3 was based on the Chevrolet Spark/Daewoo Matiz; so much so that the doors between the two models are supposedly interchangeable.
The news that Chery is looking for a new Philippine distributor is not unusual given the desire of many Chinese corporations to expand outside of their home markets. But the brand has already had three prior attempts to gain a foothold in our market.
The original distributor, Iseway, rapidly established a dealership network in the Philippines but encountered one problem after the other. Insiders from the company reported they had problems with homologation papers with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) because some of their vehicular paperwork were submitted in Chinese, not English; this led to problems with registrations and plates. They also had problems with their parts supplies network; the lack of parts at the time supposedly led to the loss of big fleet clients for the Chery QQ hatchback like Coca Cola.
The second and third distributors, each under new management, sought to repair the brand's rocky start by establishing a new and improved parts network and warehouse. By all indications and by introduction of cheaper models from mainstream Japanese and Korean brands, Chery didn't fare much better.
Will this fourth attempt at breaking into the Philippine market do the trick for Chery?