China has been the world’s largest automobile market for 12 consecutive years, and several famous brands have emerged in China’s automotive industry, among which Chery is one of the best.
While the automotive industry is ushering in the era of the “New Four Modernizations”, Chery has made a series of efforts in its strategic layout and taken the lead in completing the platform-based and modular construction of the traditional gas-fueled vehicle system. In the future, while continuing to accelerate the development of traditional gas-fueled vehicles, Chery will invest more in cutting-edge technologies such as new energy, automotive electronics, artificial intelligence and Internet applications, strengthen industry-university-research collaboration and focus on new energy, intelligent connectivity and overseas markets, thereby creating more growth engines for Chery’s future development, rapidly expanding its global market scale and enhancing its brand image.
Since its founding in 1997, Chery has adhered to independent innovation and gradually established a complete R&D system of technologies and products. Its products are exported to more than 80 countries and regions around the world. It has created famous products such as the ARRIZO and TIGGO, as well as the high-end brand EXEED. Chery also owns such brands as Chery Jaguar Land Rover through joint ventures.
Chery’s rapid development is due to its continuously increasing investment in R&D, improving R&D team building, enhancing corporate innovation capability, building core competitiveness and providing a technological guarantee for corporate development. In recent years, centering on the technical route planning of “One Line and Five Layers”, Chery has focused on system process reengineering and technological innovation while consolidating the traditional automotive industry, and significantly improved its core competitiveness represented by the “TQCDI indicators” (Technology, Quality, Cost, Delivery and Investment).
Chery’s technological innovation is becoming deeper and deeper like “digging a well”. Through the constant integration of new technologies and new processes with traditional core technologies, and a forward-looking layout aiming at new energy, intelligent connectivity and other fields, it has achieved sustainable iterative innovation capability. In this way, generation after generation, the technical R&D layout of “application for a generation, reserve for a generation, R&D for a generation” has been formed, ensuring that the technology of each generation of Chery products is always cutting-edge.
In terms of product development, Chery has established a matrix product development mode in which the product development management center and various technical centers cooperate, forming a V-shaped R&D system and process for vehicle development. In manufacturing, Chery is the first Chinese brand to establish a production management system with global unified standards – the CPS (Chery Production System) – which effectively guarantees the quality of new products. Chery is currently the leading brand in China in terms of 3MIS IPTV (Incidents per Thousand Vehicles in 3 Months).
Over the years, based on its V-shaped positive development system compliant with international standards, Chery has gradually completed a “Big R&D” pattern of integrating its R&D talents and processes with those of its joint ventures, and established a relatively complete product R&D system covering the development of vehicles, powertrains, key parts and trial production and testing. Through technological innovation, Chery has made breakthroughs in core technologies such as TGDI (Turbocharged Gasoline Direct Injection), CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), new energy and intelligent technologies, driving the technological upgrading of all its products.
Adhering to independent R&D, Chery invests 5–7% of its annual sales revenue in technical R&D. It has established a global R&D layout including the Wuhu Headquarters in China and R&D bases in Shanghai, Europe, North America, the Middle East and Brazil, and possesses a global R&D team of more than 5,500 designers and engineers from more than ten countries. The Chery Group has established nearly 30 state-level innovative enterprises, technical centers and laboratories. As early as 2008, Chery established the Forward Technology Research Institute as a “fenceless research institute” which integrates intellectual resources at home and abroad with industry-university-research collaboration and cross-border innovation. Chery’s advanced talent concept and mature human resource management system have laid a solid foundation for it to confront competition in the global automobile market and build an international brand in the “New Four Modernizations” era.
So far, Chery has applied for 20,794 patents, of which13,153 have been granted, ranking at the forefront of China’s automotive industry. It has won the first prize once and second prize three times at the “China National Awards for Science and Technology Progress”. In the ranking of the “2019 Automotive Patent Innovation Index” released by the China Automotive Technology and Research Center, Chery ranked first among Chinese automotive brands in terms of “patent quality evaluation”, the most important index, and first among Chinese automobile brands and in the top 20 global brands in the field of intelligent connectivity, representing cutting-edge technologies.
Chery in the Traditional Vehicle Industry
As the earliest leader of Chinese brands, Chery pioneered adherence to positive R&D and made great achievements in the three core technologies of engine, transmission and chassis, earning its reputation as “Technology Chery”. In traditional automobile technology, Chery was the first automobile enterprise to master engine, automatic transmission, chassis, engine management system (EMS) and platform technologies through independent innovation.
In terms of engines, Chery has completed the R&D of three generations of engines and developed more than 20 engines in total, six of which have won the coveted title of “Top Ten Engines” in China. The 1.6TGDI engine, a third-generation engine independently developed by Chery, has been launched on the market in a number of products including the new TIGGO 8, and gained a favorable market response.
In terms of transmissions, Chery began to explore the independent development of CVT technology in 2003 and succeeded eventually as the product was officially put into production in 2010. In 2013, Chery Automobile filled the gap in China’s automotive industry for high-end automatic transmissions with its independently developed CVT technology, which won the first prize at the China Automotive Industry Awards for Science and Technology.
In terms of platform technologies, Chery is also the first Chinese automobile brand to build automobile platforms. All of Chery’s existing products are developed on the basis of its four product platforms: T1X, M1X, M3X and the new energy platform. Thanks to the development of its leading platform technology, Chery can put new products on the market with mature technology and higher quality at a faster rate, accelerate its product iteration and enhance its market competitiveness.
Chery in the New Energy Industry
Today, the development of the new energy automotive industry has become a national strategy, and China’s automotive industry is rapidly developing towards electric transformation. Seeing electric transformation as an important opportunity to “change lanes and overtake”, Chinese brands have taken the lead in launching a series of electric products and realizing rapid iteration, striving to achieve the leap from a “follower of technology” to a “leader of technology”.
As one of the earliest independent vehicle companies in China to develop new energy vehicles, Chery commenced its R&D of energy-saving and new energy vehicles as early as 1999, and has since established a complete R&D system of new energy technologies including vehicle integration, core technologies and core component development capabilities. To date, Chery has applied for more than 900 patents in the field of new energy, of which over 600 have been granted, leading in the industry.
Chery New Energy is a pioneer in the field of new energy vehicles. Through unremitting efforts in R&D for more than ten years, it has taken the lead in making breakthroughs in the field of lightweight technology, realized the low-cost and green mass production of new energy passenger vehicles based on “lightweight aluminum materials”, and created a new model for constantly promoting the technological progress of the automotive industry. Since its development of aluminum-based composite vehicle bodies in 2015, Chery has cooperated with a number of scientific research institutes on national projects, accumulated substantial technical achievements and developed related experimental equipment. With the deepening of such work, Chery decided to establish a lightweight technology laboratory. In March 2020, Chery New Energy was certified as a “Key Laboratory of Anhui Province in Lightweight Technology of New Energy Vehicles”.
Chery New Energy Small Ant, the leader of the A000 battery electric vehicle (EV)segment, is the benchmark for lightweight EVs and the first battery EV among independent Chinese brands to be built with an all-aluminum lightweight body. This bodywork structure reduces the weight of the whole vehicle by 40% compared with traditional vehicles. Chery’s “3R-BODY” structural design can not only effectively ensure driving safety, but also contribute to the lightweight and maneuverability of the whole vehicle, thus effectively extending the cruising range. Since its launch in 2017, Chery New Energy Small Ant has undergone four evolutions and set a number of records: China’s first EV created through positive independent development; the first battery EV built with an all-aluminum lightweight body; China’s first two-door four-seat battery EV with a cruising range of more than 300 km; the first battery EV with an automatic parking function; the best-selling battery EV in its market segment; and the battery EV model with the highest penetration rate in shared mobility.
The end of 2019 saw the official launch of the S61, Chery New Energy’s first all-aluminum lightweight battery electric SUV. As a core strategic model of Chery New Energy, the S61 integrates the latest cutting-edge technology with consumer demands and aesthetic trends. The launch of the S61 (later renamed “Ant”) provides users with a smarter and greener choice of mobility.
The Chery New Energy team led the project “Key Technologies and Equipment for Short Process R&D and Manufacturing of Aluminum-based Lightweight New Energy Passenger Vehicles”, which won the first prize at the China Automotive Industry Awards for Science and Technology in 2020. This award proves that Chery New Energy has established a complete independent intellectual property system covering the key technologies, equipment and short processes of the R&D and manufacturing of aluminum-based lightweight bodywork. Chery’s world-leading system effectively promotes the technological progress of the industry and further accelerates the arrival of the green manufacturing era.
In terms of future technology planning, Chery has formulated the “457” technology development plan which consists of four new energy product platforms, five general subsystems and seven core technologies including battery EVs, hybrid vehicles, extended range EVs, fuel cells and so on. Chery’s new energy products will gradually cover various market segments in the future, including Class A to Class C cars and Class B to Class D SUVs, covering plug-in hybrid vehicles, battery EVs, extended-range EVs, electric four-wheel-drive vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
Chery in Intelligent Connectivity
Today, in the context of the automobile technology revolution, intelligent connectivity technology is becoming a common basic technology. Chery is taking the lead in exploring the intelligent connectivity field of smart mobility in the future and accelerating its transformation from a traditional automobile company to an Internet company. Based on the original intelligent automobile business group, the sector of intelligent connectivity and autonomous driving has integrated businesses such as big data, artificial intelligence and intelligent manufacturing, growing into one of the seven industrial sectors.
In terms of intelligent connectivity technology, in 2018, Chery officially released its intelligent brand strategy” CHERY LION”, declaring a comprehensive transformation to intelligence and devoting itself to providing global consumers with an “intelligent and connected lifestyle for the new era”.
“CHERY LION” has five business platforms, namely i-Drive@ Lion, i-Connect@ Lion, i-Make@ Lion, i-Digital@Lionand i-Mobility@Lion, covering Chery’s digital and intelligent layout in the whole life cycle from R&D, manufacturing and marketing to services. These five business platforms will be constantly adjusted and rationally evolve based on changes in the intelligent industry and consumer market, establishing a complete, sustainable and strategically guided Lion system which supports the intelligent evolution of the Chery brand.
At present, Chery’s” Lion Cloud OS” has developed to the 4.0 version and is installed in the latest models, with over 500,000 users. In the ranking of the “2019 Automotive Patent Innovation Index” released by the China Automotive Technology and Research Center, Chery’s comprehensive patent index in the field of intelligent connectivity ranked among the top 20 in the world and first among Chinese automobile brands.
In terms of autonomous driving technology, Chery has launched “i-Drive@ Lion”, a technology platform focusing on autonomous driving. At present, L2.5 autonomous driving technology has been adopted in new products launched on the market, and in 2025, L4 highly autonomous driving technology will be realized.
At Chery, where “Technology Rules”, artificial intelligence has long been successfully integrated with the automotive industry and has a place in the market. Meanwhile, Chery also keeps upgrading its technology, providing driving assistance functions such as blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning and automatic parking. In the future, Chery will also incorporate more Internet eco systems in its vehicles such as intelligent payment and facial recognition.
Chery in Overseas Markets
Since its early stages, Chery has paid attention to developing both domestic and international markets. As the first automobile brand in China to “go global”, Chery has been expanding overseas markets in various forms including vehicle export, CKD, joint ventures and localized R&D and production since its first exports in 2001.
Chery has been listed among the “Top 20 Chinese Enterprises with the Best Global Image” five times, and has established four R&D centers, ten production bases and more than 1,500 sales and service outlets overseas. Chery has sold over 1.7 million products in more than 80 countries and regions. From January to December 2020, Chery exported a total of 114,000 vehicles, up by 18.7%year on year, making it the number one exporter among Chinese passenger vehicle manufacturers for 18 consecutive years.
Chery Automobile has been able to maintain its competitiveness overseas for so many years because of its long-term insistence on its international development strategy. In order to build its global competitiveness, Chery formulated a “three-step” strategy: before 2013, Chery took developing markets as the breakthrough point and focused on export trade to make its products “go global” successfully. In 2014, Chery began to “go deeper”, actively developing emerging markets such as Brazil and Russia, establishing four major plants, exporting technology, management and culture, and “going deeper” into local markets. From 2020, Chery will push the brand to “go higher” and complete the international layout including mainstream markets such as Europe and America.
In 2020, against the global background of the COVID-19 epidemic, Chery’s overseas exports still achieved substantial growth. The high-end brand EXEED entered the Russian market with the TXL model as the pioneer taking a new step in Chery’s globalization strategy. The EXEED TXL also won the honor of “Best New Vehicle in 2020” in Russia. Chery’s products represented by the new TIGGO 8 are popular in Russia, Saudi Arabia, Chile, Ukraine, Philippines, Peru and other countries, with both sales volume and market share reaching record highs.
At present, Chery is accelerating its global market strategy, including building a global integrated R&D system and sales service system to support the localized operation of Chery products in global mainstream markets. At present, Chery’s R&D centers in Europe and North America have been put into operation. The European R&D Center, Chery’s “vanguard” for entering the European market, is mainly responsible for three core businesses: first, the design business which supports Chery’s European and international projects; second, the R&D business which supports Chery’s development of the European market and cooperation with European partners; and third, the market business which makes preparations for Chery’s related brands and products to enter the European market in the future. The North American R&D center will focus on the R&D of autonomous driving.
In the future, Chery will further integrate the professional knowledge reserves and development capabilities of major R&D outlets around the world, and introduce global product development processes to further enhance its ability to participate in global market competition.
The severe global epidemic situation and the accelerated reshuffle of the automotive industry have not hindered the pace of Chery’s “going higher”.
Always putting customers first and oriented by customer demands, Chery produces excellent products and satisfactory services with which it wins the trust and support of its customers. In the future, Chery will continue to improve its service experience standards and development quality to bring customers convenient, rapid, sincere, enthusiastic, trustworthy and high-quality services.
In 2021, under the double pressure of the global economic downturn and the cyclical adjustment of the automotive industry, Chery is taking great strides towards becoming an international brand with global competitiveness.