Chinese car brand Chery re-enters S’pore with an EV and a plug-in hybrid

The Omoda 5 EV (right) and the Jaecoo 7 PHEV (left) will be launched in Singapore, marking the return of the Chery brand under Vertex Automobile. PHOTO: VERTEX AUTOMOBILE

SINGAPORE - Local motor distributor Vertex Automobile is bringing back Chinese brand Chery with two new models, starting with a new electric vehicle (EV) in the fourth quarter of 2023, followed by a plug-in hybrid model (PHEV).

Vertex will continue to sell Seat cars until its existing stock is cleared, but Cupra, which is an offshoot of the Spanish car brand, will go to Volkswagen Group Singapore (VGS) from next Thursday.

Records show that Chery cars were last sold in Singapore in January 2019.

Existing owners of Seat cars can continue to go to Vertex for maintenance and aftersales services. The spokesman for VGS said it will start welcoming both Seat and Cupra cars from next Thursday.

VGS said that its plans for the Seat brand is only for aftersales, repair and warranty services. This means that the Spanish brand will not have any retail representation after Vertex has sold the remaining stock of cars.

Vertex said it will focus on EV and PHEV models and will stop selling internal combustion engine models from 2024.

Seat does not have any EV or PHEV models for sale in Singapore.

While Chery was among the most successful Chinese car brands when it arrived here in 2006, rising certificate of entitlement prices in the years that followed have made them less attractive to budget-conscious buyers. This time, Chery is looking to shed that budget image to appeal to buyers looking for technology.

Chery’s relaunch in Singapore will start with two models under sub-brands Omoda and Jaecoo.

In recent years, Chinese car companies have been creating sub-brands with distinctly different models.

The Omoda 5 EV crossover vehicle is expected to arrive by the fourth quarter of 2023 and the Jaecoo 7, which is a PHEV, will follow in the first quarter of 2024.

Both models made their world debut at the Auto Shanghai show in April. Details, including price and specifications of these models, have yet to be confirmed.

Vertex is also preparing to bring in a new brand of electric commercial vehicles from China by the end of 2023. The line-up will include a light goods vehicle and a pickup truck, which will be available as a single-cab and a double-cab style truck. When asked, Vertex’s spokesman did not name the brand.

The showroom at Ubi Road 4 will start renovations in June in preparation for the change. The new layout will accommodate Chery, the new commercial vehicle brand, and the remaining stock of Seat cars until they are sold.

The Vertex Automobile showroom. ST PHOTO: BRIAN TEO

Owned by egg trader Lian Fong, Vertex introduced the Chery brand to Singapore in 2006.

Recently, with the generous incentives to promote green mobility, Chinese automotive brands are appearing again with new EV options. These include BYD, DFSK, Foton and Maxus offering a mix of cars and commercial vehicles.

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