Here come the Chinese, again.
Chery Automobile Co., Ltd. and WEY, the luxury brand from Great Wall Motor Co., Ltd., will be making their first appearance ever at a major European auto show in September at the IAA Cars 2017, or the biennial Frankfurt Motor Show.
Chery’s press conference will be held from 10:50 to 11:05 on September 12 at the Frankfurt Messe, about half an hour after WEY holds its press conference from 10:10 to 10:25, according to the press conference schedule posted on IAA’s official website. Both brands will be exhibiting in Hall 8.0, alongside Toyota, Lexus, Subaru, Hyundai, Opel, Renault, Dacia and Citroën.
This will be the third time over the last 12 years that a major Chinese automaker will be exhibiting at the Frankfurt Motor Show. In 2005, Geely became the first ever Chinese automaker to exhibit at the show, five years before it acquired Swedish carmaker Volvo Cars. In 2013, Chang’an had its maiden appearance in Frankfurt with the global debut of the CS75 SUV which later turned out to be one of the top selling SUV models in the Chinese market.
Chery is expected to debut its latest A+ segment SUV codenamed M31T to the world for the first time, ushering in its so-called “Generation 3.0” era model lineup. The model is developed based on global-standards and born out of Chery’s M3X high-end platform. It will have 1.6TGDI or 1.5TCI hybrid powertrain options meeting Euro-VI emissions standards, and is expected to be a model with watershed significance as it is designed for domestic high-end market and overseas mainstream market needs. Chery is also expected to announce details of its “Generation 3.0” strategy and communicate with local dealers about new measures and efforts to expand into developed global markets.
WEY, on the other hand, is making its first ever appearance at a major international auto show less than a year after the brand was officially launched at Auto Guangzhou 2016 last November as a “pioneer” in Chinese luxury SUVs. It is also the first pure-bred Chinese “luxury” brand to exhibit at a major international auto show. While parent company Great Wall Motor leads China in sales of SUVs and pickups, it is too early to say whether WEY, named after company founder and chairman Wei Jianjun and dedicated also to SUVs like its sister brand Haval, will be successful at breaking the glass ceiling of Chinese brands trying to go upscale. So far in the first two full months (June and July) on the market, WEY sold close to 10,000 units of the VV7 SUVs priced in the ¥150,000-¥200,000 range.
Great Wall has not announced any plans on what it will be showing in Frankfurt but expect it to unveil an all-new SUV model or concept that will add to its existing lineup of the VV7 and VV5 SUVs.
It is interesting to note that while Great Wall has led the Chinese market in SUV sales for 14 consecutive years, Chery has led Chinese passenger vehicle export for 14 consecutive years, with more than 1.2 million units exported over its 20-year history.
In the first half of 2017, Chery sales totaled 315,172 units, up 11.2 percent. That volume included export of 54,317 units, up 61.5 percent, while new energy vehicle sales rose 86.5 percent to 9,300 units. The company has set a sales target of 900,000 units for 2017.
Great Wall, on the other hand, sold 460,743 vehicles in the first half of 2017, up 2.33 percent with a significant majority of the volume coming from the Haval SUV brand (394,540 units, up 4.18 percent). Export volume reached 18,155 units, up 148.73 percent. There were no NEV sales.