Teaser photo previews pre-production compact hatchback for show and tell at Frankfurt

Teaser photo previews pre-production compact hatchback for show and tell at Frankfurt

Chery Automobile said it would start sales of passenger cars in Europe within the next few years under a new brand.

The first model on sale will be a compact SUV which, the company said, would "meet the needs and expectations of European private and fleet buyers in terms of design, quality, dynamics and crash worthiness".

This car will be revealed in pre-production form at the Frankfurt show on 12 September.

Chery said it was evaluating the sales opportunity in key markets ahead of setting up a European sales operation in co-operation with import and distribution partners.

New design and R&D facilities in Europe would accelerate its plan for global expansion.

"In just a few years we intend to start selling a family of vehicles in European markets across multiple segments, with power supplied by a range of electrified powertrains," said Chery CEO Anning Chen.

The company has indicated that it plans to sell a range of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (P-HEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs).

"Our brand will target open-minded, younger customers in particular, with a product rollout strategy that focuses on quality, low- and zero-emissions powertrains, and emotional engagement with customers. All Chery vehicles sold in Europe will feature class-leading connectivity, be fun to drive, offer flexible and spacious interiors and will provide comprehensive personalisation, all of which are aligned with our high standards of product quality and aftersales support."

Chery claims to be the most successful exporter of vehicles in China. It has sold over 1.2m units overseas and was also the first Chinese manufacturer to pass total sales of 6m vehicles. It has been China's leading vehicle exporter for 14 consecutive years.

In 2016, the Chery group sold over 700,000 units, a year on year rise of 28%. Of this, approximately 100,000 were exported, almost 30% of all Chinese vehicle exports.

Chery has the production capability to fulfil its ambitions in Europe. It has four manufacturing sites in China with capacity to produce over 1m vehicles, approximately 1m engines and around 600,000 transmissions. Overseas, it has 10 production facilities and nearly 1,200 sales and service outlets, compared to over 500 in China.

All aspects of product design, development and testing are undertaken in house and the new platform has been engineered with a focus on maintaining very high standards of product quality to underpin an increasingly international sales strategy. By the end of 2016, Chery had secured over 9,000 patents for its technology, placing it ahead of all domestic automotive sector rivals.

The new Chery R&D operation to be created in Europe will be in addition to its existing R&D facilities in Wuhu, Beijing, and Shanghai in China. Over the last five years Chery has spent nearly CNY2bn on a new 300,000 square metre test and technical centre in China which houses eight laboratories evaluating parts and components; emissions and efficiency; management of vehicle noise, vibration and harshness; passive safety; and materials.