China’s Chery to launch Jaecoo J7 family SUV in Australia

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Chinese car brand Chery could be on a collision course with itself after confirming plans for its fourth family SUV between 4.4 and 4.75 metres long, the Jaecoo J7.

The Jaecoo J7 mid-size family SUV from Chinese car maker Chery has been confirmed for Australian showrooms in the second half of this year.

Three of the four – the two Tiggos, and the Jaecoo J7 – are expected to compete under the same classification on the Australian new-car sales charts, mid-size SUVs.

Chery says Jaecoo will be marketed as its own sub-brand in Australia – with the J7 its first model – that is claimed to be a “more premium product … compared to the Chery brand.”

However with prices likely not to be too far from other Chery vehicles – $32,990 to $41,490 drive-away for the Omoda 5, $39,990 to $45,990 drive-away for the Tiggo 7 Pro, and an estimated starting price of $45,000 drive-away for the Tiggo 8 Pro – the Jaecoo J7 may be on a collision course with its peers, competing for the same customers.

The four SUVs are built on the same underpinnings but differ in styling, with a sportier ‘coupe-styled’ look for the Omoda, a boxy design for the Jaecoo, and a more conventional style somewhere in between for the Tiggo duo.

It is unclear if it will use the Chery dealer network, or set up its own locations. A company spokesperson told Drive “the distribution network … is under review, and will be confirmed nearer to launch.”

If Jaecoo uses its own dealer network, cheaper versions of the J7 will be rivals for more expensive Chery Tiggo 7 Pro models from the same parent company, given the vehicles are similar in dimensions and engines.

Chery only returned to Australia 12 months ago – and had 60 dealers as of late last year.

Few details of the Jaecoo J7 have been confirmed for Australia, though it will offer a choice of front- or all-wheel drive, five seats, a 14.8-inch portrait touchscreen and seven on-road and off-road drive modes.

In markets such as South Africa it is powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine developing 145kW and 290Nm, sent through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The same engine is fitted to the Tiggo 7 Pro and Omoda 5 GT in Australia, but it is tuned to 137kW and 275Nm.

A plug-in hybrid version of the J7 is also available in China – where it is sold as the Chery Tansuo 06, or Chery Explore 06 – but it is not clear if this will come to Australia.

Overseas the Jaecoo brand also markets the larger Jaecoo J8, which is a rebadged version of what is sold in China as the Chery Tiggo 9.

Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020.

Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines at a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.

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