Chery is on the verge of making a comeback in Pakistan this time having teamed up with Ghandhara to launch a range of vehicles in our country. If you aren’t aware, Chery cars were previously launched here back in 2005 under the umbrella of Karakoram Motors with 800cc QQ hatchback as their prime offering.
This time around, Chery will begin their proceedings with the launch of a crossover SUV, the Tiggo-8 which is scheduled to be launched on 14th of December. Like most newcomers, Ghandhara & Chery are counting high on SUVs– the segment which makes up less than 5% of the market as far as the sales are concerned. However the majority of auto consumers remain in dire hope to get new cars launched for the masses which would take on the existing competition, something that was the prime objective of the Auto Policy and the very reason why newcomers were pulled in.
So far only Changan Alsvin and Proton Saga are among subcompact sedans & Kia Picanto among the hatchbacks offered by mainstream players (newcomers) in sub 3.0 million price domain. Whereas the older generation Hyundai Elantra with a 2.0L engine is there to compete against Toyota Corolla & Honda Civic.
But with Chery, we do have some hopes that after Tiggo-8 and Tiggo-4 the company might launch other vehicles such as the sedans, hatchbacks or MPVs in our market. One of the vehicles we strongly believe should be introduced here is the Cowin Xuandu sedan.
Chery under its Cowin sub-brand makes inexpensive yet colorful cars for first-time and younger set of buyers. The Cowin Xuandu sedan is the successor to Chery Arrizo 7 and is considered a competitor to the likes of Kia Cerato, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra and Toyota Corolla but with almost a 30% lower price tag.
It measures 4,666mm long, 1,825mm wide and 1,483mm tall with a wheelbase of 2,700mm exactly same as that of the 10th gen Honda Civic & 11th gen Toyota Corolla we have here. But the Xuandu is marginally bigger than both Corolla & Civic in terms of length, width & height. It boasts sharp sportier styling with slimmer set of headlamps up front & a dashed slatted grille that gets a similar colored pattern on the right hand side that reminds us of BMW M, the performance subsidiary of BMW AG.
The back also gets slim LED tail lights, an indented bumper with blacked-out diffuser element having dual quad exhausts finished in chrome. The wheel design is said to be inspired from ancient Chinese weapon Ge- dagger axe.
The interior is lively with a combination of dark & light grey but accentuated with contrasting colors used on various parts. There is a multi-function flat-bottomed steering wheel, a large floating touchscreen, electronic parking brake and push button engine start/ stop function.
The front seats gets integrated headrests and contrasting inserts in them with silver embellishments. Other highlights include power adjustable seats with heating function, power sunroof and rear air vents with power socket for back seat passengers.
Under the hood there is a a 1.5L turbocharged engine that’s capable to churn out 156hp of power and 230Nm of torque, and comes paired to either a 5-speed manual or CVT gearbox. The Cowin Xuandu sedan in China is priced from 68,900 yuan which converts into PKR 19.14 lac. Cowin has recently announced the imminent start of export shipments, however its not confirmed yet whether the Xuandu is destined for Pakistani market or not.
The core purpose of the Auto Policy was to break the monopoly of 3 Japanese automakers in the market, generate healthy competition between players, shorten the delivery period, eliminate own/ premium, increase localization, bring down car prices and improve the quality of products offered to the customers. However for the benefit of consumers, nothing seems to have been achieved apart from newcomers launching expensive products pitting in the segments which barely makes up less than 10% of the market.
Whether Chery will remain contended to sell CBUs & expensive crossovers in limited numbers or will proceed towards launching mass-market cars that actually takes on the existing options, we will have to wait to find out. Do you think the likes of Cowin Xuandu sedan should be launched in Pakistan? Let us know with your opinion.
A 3d animation professional with over 20 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations & production facilities of Pakistan, an avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver writings to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com