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Chery A1

130190 Views 160 Replies 72 Participants Last post by  isnilgiz
Chery S12 spy pics

I heard that this new model will replace the QQ.


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Chery Automobile's A1, the car I drove across Xinjiang, is an example of the accelerating effect of globalization on the world auto industry.

Built with assistance from Italian auto-design firm Bertone and powered by a 1.3-liter engine developed with help from Austrian engineering firm AVL, the A1 is outfitted with parts from Honeywell International and Visteon.

It is assembled at a factory in Anhui, one of China's poorest provinces, by workers who earn an average of a bit more than $1 an hour, according to Chery, a government-owned company founded in 1997.

The newly private Chrysler in the U.S. plans to export the car -- and models based on it -- around the world, selling them under its Dodge brand. Chrysler says it will start offering the car in Latin America and other developing markets by the end of 2008. The vehicles will go on sale in the U.S. and Western Europe in 2009, after they are modified to meet those markets' stricter safety and environmental rules, Chrysler says.

One of Chery's earlier sedans fared badly in a crash test done this year by a car magazine in Russia. Chery says that the test was biased, and that the car performed better in a follow-up test in China.

Chrysler says that the A1 is a much better car than the one tested in Russia. Still, executives say they know Chinese products will be scrutinized in the wake of highly-publicized questions about the safety of Chinese exports of food, toothpaste, toys and jewelry.

"There should be a lot of attention," says Michael Manley, a Chrysler executive vice president in charge of global sales and marketing. "We are making sure the cars meet safety requirements" in every country where they will be sold.

Even so, unsure of the safety and quality of the Chery, we rented another car -- a Mitsubishi Outlander, driven by our Shanghai bureau driver, Xu Linqing -- to trail us in case there were any problems.

For Chinese customers, Chery is marketing the A1 as a car that will give them a world-class vehicle at a price (around $7,000) they can afford. Banners promoting the car in the dealership feature Caucasian models and picture the car in front of icons of Western architecture, from the Leaning Tower of Pisa to the Empire State Building and the Sydney Opera House.

In all, we traveled more than 1,700 miles -- in city traffic, on highways and even up and down steep hills off-road in the desert -- and the A1 performed admirably. For a small car, the ride was surprisingly smooth and quiet, even at high speeds. At 100 miles an hour, there was only a slight vibration in the steering column.

Given the small size of the engine, it was no surprise that acceleration was a bit sluggish, especially when there were four adults in the car. And the car would benefit from more attention to the fit and finish of interior parts. The plastic cover for the passenger-side airbag didn't sit quite flush with the dashboard. And the metallic coating on the center console chipped after only a couple of days' use.

But overall, for such an inexpensive car, it is hard to complain. The air conditioning and mesh-upholstered seats kept us cool through the desert. There was a roomy cargo area under the hatchback. And the car had a CD player and a USB port that allows drivers to plug their MP3 into the sound system.

The Chery dealer in Kashgar offered us $5,260 for it. We accepted.

--Ellen Zhu contributed to this article
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well as the US big guys go down, maybe some good talent fromthem will go to china
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