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Chery launches high-end brand

WUHU, Anhui – Chery Automobile Co., Ltd. unveiled on March 19 its high-end brand as it rolled out the Riich G6, according to a company statement.

The natio’s largest independent carmaker has added the Riich mid-to-high-level models as well as the Rely sport utility vehicles and multi-purpose vehicles to its portfolio. Chery said at least five models are planned under the Riich nameplate, including a sports coupe and three small compacts.

The first Riich brand car, the G6, has a size of 4,954×1,814×1,495 mm (LxWxH) and will be equipped with a 3.0 V6 or 2.0 TCI engine. The G6 is said to be the outcome of years’ R&D efforts by engineers from China, Korea and Austria. It has a wheelbase of 2,820 mm, a little shorter than that of the Audi A6 but longer than the Audi A4. However, priced between ¥200,000-¥300,000 ($29,000-$43,500), the model will compete with the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry in the domestic market, said Chery’s chairman Yin Tongyue at the launch ceremony.

Following the G series, Chery will launch the M, X and Z series under the Riich brand in the future.

Chery aims to get rid of the image that its vehicles are made only for low-end market through providing cars for government and institutional use and launching multi-brand strategy, said analysts. It also seeks to improve profitability and expand overseas markets after being sales champion of mini cars for many years.

Marketing strategy

At the ceremony, Yin said major sales of the Riich G6 will be government procurement initially. The Anhui provincial government announced it will purchase 15,000 cars form Chery this year.

According to Yin, in order to meet the needs of institutional use, Chery made market investigations among many government officials in Anhui before the R&D of G6. Then they decided to add some superior luxury equipment, like massage seats and entertainment system in the back row, to the model according to the investigation results.

Chery’s spokesman Jin Yibo, also in charge of Chery’s government sales, told reporters that Chery’s customers would not be limited in the Auhui Province. Their target will include departments under the central government as well as provinces where there is no or weak automotive industry.

Multi-brand strategy

In the first year for the Riich brand, Yin set a sales target of 50,000-60,000 units. In order to sell the two high-end brands in a separate channel from the Chery brand, the independent automaker established Qilin Automobile Sales Company for sales of the Riichs and Relys. Yang Bo, former sales head of Brilliance Auto, was appointed general manager of the new company.

Yang said they plan to build up 200 Qilin 4S stores by the year end, among which 150 stores sell the Riich brand vehicles and the rest 50 distribute the Relys.

Before the formation of the new sales company, Chery has already begun to recruit new dealers nationwide. Currently a total of 300 dealerships have got approval from the company, and 50 of them are in construction. Four Riich or Rely brand 4S stores will be completed and start business within this year, said Yang.

Now the Wuhu-based automaker has the Chery, Karry, Rely and Riich brands for economic cars, microvans, institutional cars and luxury cars. The four brands will have separate sales companies and dealer networks in the future, said Yin.

According to Yi’s plan, Chery’s annual sales will exceed the 1 million mark in 2011, and at least 200,000 Riich and Rely cars will be sold by 2011.

In addition, as for Chery’s potential cooperation with JAC, Yin said he has good personal relationship with JAC chairman Zuo Ya’an. “Chery and JAC are in the same province. Why ca’t we cooperate? We can start cooperation first, and as cooperation deepens, we may become a family one day.”

Chery aims to boost its total sales by 17 percent to 419,000 units this year, including 263,000 sold in China and 156,000 for export.

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