Chery: First to 2 million

09:42, March 29, 2010      

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As a Rely X5 sports utility vehicle rolled off the production line late last week, Chery Automobile Co became China's first homegrown passenger car manufacturer to produce 2 million vehicles.

Four other automakers - all Sino-foreign joint ventures - have passed benchmark, including SAIC-Volkswagen, FAW-Volkswagen, Shanghai GM and Guangqi Honda.

Chery, based in Wuhu of Anhui province, introduced its first car, the Chery Fengyun, to the market in December 1999. It took nearly eight years to pass the 1 million mark. It then doubled that in just two and a half years.

The Rely X5, equipped with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and a five-speed manual transmission, is the first SUV made by Chery. It offers maximum power of 125kW/5500rpm and boasts a peak torque of 235Nm/1900rpm. The model retails at 159,800 yuan.

Chery also launched the Rely H5, a multi-purpose vehicle with 14 seats, at the celebration ceremony for the milestone.

Both the X5 and H5 competed in the Dakar Rally in January and helped the Chinese team reach the top 30 for the first time.

Yin Tongyue, president of Chery, said in an interview after the ceremony that reaching the 3 million mark will take about 20 months or even less time.

The company's combined sales in January and February this year more than doubled over the same period last year to 114,946 units. It aims to sell between 700,000 and 900,000 units this year, up from 500,000 in 2009.

Chery currently has several plants in Wuhu with a total production capacity of 900,000 vehicles a year. Its 200,000-unit Dalian plant is under construction and will begin operation next year.

Yin noted that Chery has not expanded too quickly. After the company passed the one million mark in 2007, it paid more attention to controlling the pace of growth and laying a solid foundation for further development, he said.

"The fundamental for a company is to be strong and profitable, and our most important pursuit is to build a century-old enterprise."

When asked about the latest development in Chery's long-awaited initial public offering, Yin said as the stock market is not in an ideal situation and Chery doesn't have much pressure in funding right now, so the company will wait and choose its own time to be listed.

Source: China Daily

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