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CHERY UNVEILS TIGGO 9 PHEV FLAGSHIP IN BEIJING

Last month’s 18th Beijing International Automotive Exhibition hosted China’s top automotive brands, including Chery Automotive, which showcased its Tiggo SUV family under the theme “New Energy, New Eco, New Era”. Most noteworthy, especially for South African consumers, was the premiere of its Tiggo 9 plug-in hybrid flagship that’s expected on local roads by early 2025.

Since its return to our shores with the groundbreaking Tiggo 4 Pro compact SUV in 2022, Chery South Africa’s fortunes in the country have grown from strength to strength. Today, it boasts 17 model derivatives across its three-platform range consisting of the Tiggo 4 Pro, Tiggo 7 Pro, and Tiggo 8 Pro. 

From 2025, however, the Chery Tiggo family will have a new flagship in South Africa in the form of the brand’s latest unveiling at the 2024 Beijing Auto Show, plug-in hybrid Tiggo 9 Pro.

FROM HUMBLE TO HERO

The Chery Tiggo family’s brand story began with the introduction of its first SUV, the Tiggo NCV, in 2005. Over the past two decades, the Tiggo has garnered global recognition as China’s foremost vehicle exporter for its quality, performance, and stylish design. With the unveiling of the Tiggo 9 Pro, the Tiggo nameplate embarks on a new journey that, according to Chery, is committed to delivering a more intelligent, safer, and eco-friendly driving experience. 

As the latest addition to the Tiggo family, the Tiggo 9 Pro PHEV (as it will likely be named locally) was undeniably one of the standout moments of the Chery reveal at the show. 

Leading the unveiling was Sajdin Osmancevic, Tiggo Design Director, who highlighted the design inspiration behind the Tiggo 9 using two key concepts: “Conquer” and “Guard.” 

The “Conquer” concept refers to the car’s exterior that features an eye-catching octagonal grille, dynamic body lines, and 20″ multi-spoke wheels. Undeniably a Tiggo yet stylistically evolved to match its premium stature, the Tiggo 9 Pro design is a mature expression of Chery’s globally focused design impetus. 

Regarding the interior, the “Guard” concept creates an inviting, secure, and advanced cabin feel brimming with next-generation tech centred around its 15.6″ 2.5K HD screen and integrated multifunctional infotainment console. Although specific details of what new tech may make it into the Tiggo 9 Pro PHEV for the South African market had not been revealed at the time of going to print, we’re expecting to see further enhancements to Chery’s already comprehensive Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) to be included. 

NEW ENERGY, NEW ECO

Beyond design and comfort, the new Tiggo 9 Pro PHEV powertrain holds the key for Chery to finally enter the new energy fray in South Africa, in the form of a 1.5-litre four-cylinder high-performance turbo engine paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, delivering a maximum power output of 175 kW and peak torque of 385 Nm. 

With 30 kW and 95 Nm more than the 1.6TGDI engine used in the Tiggo 8 Pro 290T (and only 13 kW and 5 Nm fewer than the current 2.0-litre turbo engine in the present Tiggo 8 Pro Max AWD range flagship), this setup shows Chery’s ongoing advancement in engine technology. Also, if the brand’s official fuel consumption figures are anything to go by, the combination of this engine with the Tiggo 9 Pro hybrid system will see the premium SUV achieve an enviable minimum fuel consumption of only 5.2 l/100 km under WLTC. 

The Tiggo 9 Pro PHEV’s “super hybrid” system employs Chery’s 3DHT electric motor that, when combined with the petrol engine and battery, boasts a total maximum power output of 230 kW, significantly enhancing the SUV’s overall acceleration performance – although official numbers have not been made available as yet. Moreover, on paper, the Tiggo 9 Pro PHEV could, conceivably, reach an overall range somewhere in the region of 1,400 kilometres under WLTC, which would be an absolute game changer for the brand.

LAST WORD

The Tiggo 9 Pro will be available in China and other left-hand-drive markets in the fourth quarter of 2024 and will reach South Africa soon after. 

Although exact configurations, model derivatives, and power train options (yes, there will be options) have not been confirmed, Chery will likely repeat its tried and tested local formula with a 187 kW 2.0-litre petrol-powered Tiggo 9 Pro leading the charge in quarter one of 2025, with the 1.5T PHEV reaching our shores by mid-year. There is also unconfirmed talk of an all-wheel-drive version joining the line-up at a later stage. To put the proverbial cherry on the cake, a brand representative also hinted at the potential for both five- and seven-seater options to be made available locally.

With Chery South Africa already selling around 1,500 cars locally per month (more than established carmakers such as Honda, Kia, and Mazda), the Chinese brand is one of the country’s top ten distributors. The Tiggo 9 Pro will undoubtedly add to this monthly tally as customers graduate into its more keenly priced premium offerings.

CHERY’S GLOBAL SUCCESS STORY

Chery Group was founded in 1997, and its subsidiary, Chery Automobile, is one of China’s earliest self-owned automotive brands to surpass one million units in sales and expand into international markets. In 2023, Chery Group achieved “twelve consecutive growth” in sales, with accumulative sales of 1,881,316 vehicles, representing a year-on-year increase of 52.6%. From January to March 2024, Chery Group sold 529,604 vehicles, marking a year-on-year growth of 60.3%. As of now, Chery Group has a global automotive user base of 13.65 million, maintaining its position as China’s top passenger car exporter for 21 consecutive years.

Report by BERNIE HELLBERG JR | Images © CHERY INTERNATIONAL

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