CRUISE-4

Is Chery Automobile Malaysia preparing to enter the hotly contested B-segment market? We were passing by 3 Two Square near our office in PJ yesterday when we saw a bright red hatchback passing by the opposite direction. We quickly made a U turn to get a closer look and snap a photo of it. It turned out to be the Chery A3 (also known as Chery J3) hatchback.

So we went to the Chery showroom nearby to enquire about the car. We noticed that there was a graphic of the sedan version of the A3 pasted on the showroom glass, with the model plate saying “Chery Cruise” – not to be confused with the Chevy Cruze! Chery uses the Cruise name for the A3 sedan in Indonesia.

CRUISE-1

According to the sales advisor, the company has plans to bring the sedan version of the car for the public to buy, but the hatchback version that we saw was just a company car and there are no plans to launch it. They seem to be taking their time though – we first saw the Chery A3 sedan driven on the PLUS highway near Perak with trade plates back in 2012. We tried to ask for an estimated launch date but got none.

The B-segment sedan market is a challenging one right now, with sales dominated by the Toyota Vios, the Honda City and the Nissan Almera (watch these three cars go head to head in Ep1 of Driven 2014). The success of the Chery Cruise would depend almost entirely on how cheap Chery will be able to price it.