Chery Eastar

Chery’s B240 MPV has been relaunched in Malaysia as a locally assembled car and it is now called the Chery Eastar. The locally assembled Chery Eastar MPVs will roll out of Oriental Assembler Sdn Bhd’s plant in Johor, but a new CKD plant will be up and running in Pekan, Pahang by the end of 2009.

The Pekan plant will include an investment of over RM50 million in equipment and will begin assembly of up to 100,000 Chery vehicles a year, including 10 models such as hybrids, SUVs, MPVs and executive cars.

According to Chery Alado Sdn Bhd’s chairman Tan Sri Cam Soh Thiam Hong, more details on the plant will be announced in the next two months together with its joint venture partners which may include a GLC. “Malaysia is the largest passenger car market in ASEAN and also the important link for Chery to other ASEAN countries’ market. We currently have 7 other overseas factories in countries like Russia, Iran, Egypt and Argentina and are planning to accelerate more overseas factories in the coming 2 years,” said Chinese automaker Chery Automobile Co Ltd’s president Yin Tongyao.

Chery currently exports 120,000 vehicles yearly and plans to hit 400,000 vehicles by 2010. As it is, the Malaysian plant will export 30% of its Chery Eastar production to countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and Australia. Local sales of the MPV is expected to be between 120 to 200 units monthly.

Under the hood of the 7-seater Chery Eastar MPV is a 2.4 litre SOHC Mitsubishi long-stroke engine producing a rather sedate 127 horsepower at 5,500rpm and 198Nm of torque at 3,000rpm. This is quite a conservatively-tuned basic engine (SOHC, 9:1 compression) which does not produce much power for its displacement but should be relatively easy on maintenance. It is mated to a 4-speed automatic transmission with manual shifting. The MPV measures 4662mm long, 1820mm wide and 1590mm tall with a long 2800mm wheelbase.

The new Chery Eastar is priced at RM79,888 for the standard version and RM86,888 for the high-spec version. The standard version includes LED rear lamps, side turn indicators on the wing mirrors, all-round disc brakes, a radio cassette player with 6 speakers, manual windows and 16 inch steel wheels while the premium version adds a CD player with MP3 support, steering wheel audio controls, ABS brakes, traction control, power windows for all four doors, dual SRS airbags for the front, and 16 inch alloy wheels. Further options include 18 inch alloy wheels and an NGV kit.

The high-spec version adds It comes with 1 year free service (for the first 1,000 units sold) and a 3+2 year warranty.

Video: Chery B240 7-seater MPV