• May 14, 2008

After years of talk, Chery is finally entering the North American market later this year, but the small car will be badged as a Dodge, and it'll be sold exclusively in Mexico. The decidedly un-Hornet-looking A1, which was designed by Bertone of Italy, will be rebadged as a Dodge and virtually unchanged from its Chery twin. While Chrysler execs are adamant that the A1 isn't coming to the US, the Pentastar is still working with Chery on a small car to be sold north of the border. Don't hold your breath waiting for an ultra-cheap Chery in the US, though. Chrysler co-pilot Tom LaSorda says Chery has "three or more years" before the Chinese automaker can meet US safety and emissions standards.

[Source: Automotive News (subs req'd)]



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  • 21 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm glad they're taking their time.
      • 6 Years Ago
      What's interesting, Chinese cars are getting Italian charm.
      Another Chery model was designed by Pininfarina.

      When I go to a Chrysler or Toyota dealer, nothing catches my eye.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This car will only be suitable for Mexico and South America. It can't meet US crash standards. It's just a rebadged Chery car with quality and reliability improvements.
      • 6 Years Ago
      US crash test and emissions problem aside, importing A1 is illegal in the US and Europe because it violates GM's intellectual property; A1 is a reskinned version of Matiz that GM lawyers will feast upon.
        • 6 Years Ago
        BZZZT! Wrong.

        The Chery qQ was allegedly a copy of the Matiz. The A1 has nothing in common with the qQ at all.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Brian Miller"

        > The Chery qQ was allegedly a copy of the Matiz. The A1 has nothing in common with the qQ at all.

        A1 still uses QQ chassis and parts. Hence an illegal vehicle in the US and Europe.

        "Richard S"

        > I thought that the Chery QQ was a copy of the Chevy Spark, not Matiz.

        Spark is China-market Matiz.

        "John"

        > Congrats Richard. At least 1 out of 3 people here actually know what they are talking about.

        Yes, I know. You don't.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This info about Dodge releasing a Chery-based small car for the US market is incorrect, as Allpar reports that development work is being done with Nissan on a small car to be sold here. Also they report Chrysler is working on it's own new "Project D" midsize platform to replace the current midsizers and underpin several other vehicles in the future.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Doesn't look like there's going to be too much difference in this and in the car it's replacing...the Dodge Atos by Hyundai (that's what the badge actually says). I've seen several of them wearing Baja license plates here in San Diego (also seen some interesting Rovers, Citroens, and BMW 1-series hatchbacks...an upside to living in a border region), and they seem like typical City cars. It will be interesting to see how the Cherys are accepted in the states of Baja Calif., BC Sur (South Baja), and Sonora (south of Arizona) where a large number of ethnic Chinese have historically settled.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I wish Chryslerbus would get its act together today. Outsourcing product lines never worked very well for anyone. Take the Pontiac Vibe vs Toyota Matrix for example. Real winner for GM there.

      Dodge should be building on its own inventory, platforms designs and ingenuity. Yeah, I know they're kind of short of bucks (but not stingy tight wad Cerberus though).

      What's wrong with re-introducing an updated Dodge Neon? That should eliminate the Renault-Nissan marriage altogether. Then you just downsize that model to bring on a subcompact version. No need therefore for Chery clones either.

      Remember all the problems and hassles Chrysler had with Mitsubishi? I guess they still haven't learned their lesson yet. What are the child labor laws like in China? Are you ready for that one?
        • 6 Years Ago
        What's wrong with the Vibe? Seems to me that it has been fairly well received in the market and most reviewers prefer the Pontiac version or the Toyota.

        I don't think there would be any practical way to update the old Neon platform to meet competitive or class leading crash impact protection. Easier to start from scratch.

        Why use somebody else's platform? Simple, they need smaller, fuel-efficient cars NOW. Much faster to get a Chrysler designed version of an existing platform to market than to start fresh. In the future maybe they do develop a smaller car architecture on their own, but I doubt it. It is a better investment to share development costs with other companies, especially on the lower profit margins on small cars. They don't have the economy of scale compared to GM, Toyota, etc.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Frank

        What I find interesting is that the Chery A1 already exists, and yet Tommy says it will be 3 or more years before it can meet US standards! That seems ludicrous. Chrysler has the know-how to get the job done much faster than that.

        Ergo, would it not make sense to re-up the old Neon platform, revise and build up on it first? It's sort of like what Ford is doing with the Focus. Instead of changing over completely to the new platform they are upgrading the old one UNTIL THEY HAVE THE NEW ONE READY.

        That makes far more sense to me. Besides it keeps it all in the family, so that no squabbling occurs between Renault, Nissan, Dodge or Chrysler (not to mention their suppliers). That way also all the capital remains in the company and is not split amongst a number of concerned parties. Less legal and tax hurdles that way.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Chrysler IS the quickest to market with products that people will actually buy (300, RAM). Problem is that a small-Chrysler car is still an unknown. Most people will agree the Neon, despite its initial problems, was a good little car - but not a great car. The name was also tarnished so bad that it will most likely never return. Hell, it could be a re-badged Civic or Corolla - but if named Neon people would say ''ew headgaskets, automatics''

        They have to not only build a new car, but make it damn near perfect out of the gate. Right now, co-engineering/badge-engineering someone else's at least gets their foot in the door.
        • 6 Years Ago
        - Don't hold your breath waiting for an ultra-cheap Chery in the US, though. Chrysler co-pilot Tom LaSorda says Chery has "three or more years" before the Chinese automaker can meet US safety and emissions standards.

        Uh-huh.

        Brent, It seems like it will 3 or more years before Chery can even meet US safety and emissions standards. I believe a new Dodge Neon could be on the road long before that. Toyota has the capability (and the cash) to get a new vehicle to market in 18 months, while GM takes forever to recreate the old Camaro. Meanwhile the market is saturated with Mustangs and soon to be a few exclusive Challengers. GM is late to the party again. Realistically it takes about two years to complete the process. If it takes longer than that then you end up like GM with a dead horse coming out of the gate. The market changes too quickly nowadays.

        DT, There ain't nothing wrong with the Vibe, because it is a Toyota! (in disguise). Everybody knows that. I agree with you that sharing development costs makes a lot of sense in today's economy. However, no way should a Dodge look or perform like a Nissan product. They have to draw a line somewhere in the sand that separates the two brands.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Well, at one time (pre Dumbler), Chrysler was one of the quickest to market automakers. They studied what Honda did to develope new models, combined that with lessons learned from their aquisition of AMC/Jeep and created platform teams that handled everything in developing a new vehicle. And mgt was not allowed to interfere and gum up the works. The result was cars developed faster for less cost. At one point I think they developed a car from scratch in 42 months. That's the real reason they made so much money in the 90's. The sales were very good, but the cost savings from their development process saved them big time $$.

        Of course Dumbler, instead of adapting it for Mercedes use, replaced it with their process and forced Chrysler to use Mercedes parts and consultants - for a fee of course. Could you imagine developing a new Mercedes for 10, 20, or even 30% cheaper than before but selling it for the same or more $? They would be swimming in Euros right now.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Do you have any idea how long it takes to build a new car? Obviously not.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Good! Keep it south of the border!

      I'm still hoping that the Hornet ends up on the Nissan B platform that underpins the Versa. It seems like this platform would be a perfect match for the Hornet.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "Brian Miller"

      > The Chery qQ was allegedly a copy of the Matiz. The A1 has nothing in common with the qQ at all.

      A1 still uses QQ chassis and parts. Hence an illegal vehicle in the US and Europe.

      "Richard S"

      > I thought that the Chery QQ was a copy of the Chevy Spark, not Matiz.

      Spark is China-market Matiz.

      "John"

      > Congrats Richard. At least 1 out of 3 people here actually know what they are talking about.

      Yes, I know. You don't.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I hope one day Hyundai decides to establish its own mark on this chili land...the Genesis could be my Apocalypse...NOWWW

      By the way I'm mexican friendos...
      • 6 Years Ago
      I don't see where more future development teamwork between Chrysler LLC and Nissan would hurt Chrysler LLC (or Nissan for that matter). I think Chrysler LLC could use a combination of their existing car platforms (which were codeveloped and/or originated with either Daimler or Mitsubishi in the first place) and some Nissan platforms to provide some really great car based products for their Dodge and Chrysler divisions in addition to eliminating most of the product line redundancy between the 2 divisions. I find this partnership more desirable than the one that has been formed with Chery.

      This is how I see their future car/crossover/MPV product lines (I'm not going to bother with trucks or the Jeep division at the moment):
      * Dodge Hornet: Subcompact 3-door & 5-door on Nissan B platform.
      * Dodge Daytona: Affordable RWD roadster and 2-seat coupe built on a modified version of Nissan's FM platform.
      * Dodge Stealth: Compact sedan & coupe on updated/improved Chrysler GS platform (currently used for Caliber, Compass, and Patriot).
      * Dodge Caliber: Morph next generation into proper compact crossover on updated/improved Chrysler GS platform.
      * Dodge Intrepid: Midsize sedan & coupe on Nissan D platform.
      * Dodge Magnum: Midsize crossover on Nissan D platform.
      * Dodge Charger: Large sedan on updated/improved Chrysler LX platform with styling inspired by 1999 Charger Concept.
      * Dodge Challenger: Sports coupe on updated/improved Chrysler SWB LX platform.
      * Dodge Caravan: Minivan on updated/improved Chrysler RT platform. Versions on the same platform with completely unique exterior/interior designs could be sold as the Volkswagen Routan and Nissan Quest.
      * Chrysler Chronos: Modern 5-door & coupe cabrio to replace PT Cruiser as Chrysler entry level near luxury car. This car would be built on Nissan's C platform, but possess the necessary luxury features and engineering to justify its inclusion in the Chrysler division lineup.
      * Chrysler LeBaron: Compact sedan, coupe-cabrio & wagon on Nissan FM platform.
      * Chrysler Citadel: Compact crossover on Nissan FM platform.
      * Chrysler Concorde: Midsize sedan, coupe-cabrio & wagon on updated/improved Chrysler SWB LX platform.
      * Chysler Pacifica: Midsize crossover on updated/improved Chrysler SWB LX platform.
      * Chrysler 300: Large sedan & wagon on updated/improved Chrysler LX platform.

      If this plan and the products were properly executed, I think Chrysler LLC could catapult back into prominence in the U.S auto market as well as other global markets. The Dodge division would have the proper mix of products to establish them as a sportier competitor in the mainstream market and Chrysler would possess a portfolio that would allow them to become a serious player in the premium end of the market.

      • 6 Years Ago
      Are you saying Bertone ripped off GM?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Berton only puts a body over supplied chassis.

        Since the chassis is stolen from Matiz, A1 is an illegal vehicle in the US and Europe.
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