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China’s Chery wants 50-plus Omoda dealerships in UK by 2024

China’s largest car manufacturer Chery Group plans to create a franchised car dealer network of more than 50 showrooms ahead of its UK launch in February 2024.

The company, which will sell its models under separate subsidiary brand called Omoda, is already in talks with prospective partners and says customers will have the option of buying online or via the dealership.

Omoda brand manager Wenlong Liu told AM group editor Stephen Briers that the company decided against selling cars in the UK and Europe badged as Chery, because it is “too traditional”.

Instead, Omoda (O comes from Oxygen and Moda from modern) will enable it to build a “futuristic brand for customers”.

Chery already exports under the Omoda subsidiary to South America, Russia and South Africa.

“Chery is the biggest exporter in China; our product is very competitive,” Liu said. “We have advanced functions, including ADAS for safety, and our cars will have an affordable price.”

The first Omoda car in the UK will be the C5 mid-size SUV, due to launch in February 2024. Pre-order books are expected to open by the end of this year.

Omoda is targeting 15,000 registrations of the C5 in the first year, a mix of fleet and retail, with both petrol and full electric available from launch. Petrol will be priced between £20,000 and £25,000; electric pricing is still to be confirmed, although press reports suggest £45,000.

The 1.5-litre petrol model promises 38.6mpg with 197hp and 0-62mph acceleration of 7.8 seconds. ADAS technology includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning and lane keeping.

All Omoda models are SUVs. On the launch pipeline is a large SUV, the C9, slated for the UK by the end of 2024, followed by a compact C3 SUV in 2025. Both will be full electric only.

Omoda will be headed in the UK by country manager Victor Zhang who, along with Wenlong Liu, has been tasked with building up the UK’s national sales company.

He said: “We are now looking for talents in UK for the brand director/manager and dealer development director/manager positions for our UK NSC.”

AM understands that the UK is seen as a key opportunity by Chery for the long term, given the success that brands like Kia and Hundai have had in growing their market shares.

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