Apple may have cancelled the iCar but Chery hasn’t

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It’s either apples or cherries when it comes to the iCar. The day after Apple in the US announced it was ceasing work on the so called iCar, Chery in China launched the iCar 03. And while Apple lost confidence Chery seems to think it can sell 10,000 a month.

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Perhaps the biggest news is the price which is down significantly from the 129,800-185,800 yuan (18,000-25,800 USD) level when pre-sales began. There are six versions of the iCar 03 priced as follows:

Standard RWD                                                     109,800 yuan (15,250 USD)

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Advanced RWD                                                    119,800 yuan (16,650 USD)

Long-range RWD                                                  129,800 yuan (18,050 USD)

Long-range AWD                                                  139,800 yuan (19,400 USD)

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Long-range advanced AWD                                159,800 yuan (22,200 USD)

Long-range intelligent-driving AWD                169,800 yuan (23,600 USD)

The iCar 03 adopts an all-aluminum multi-chamber cage body structure. Length, width and height of the new car are 4406/1910/1715 mm, and the wheelbase is 2715 mm. It is available with either 18 or 19 inch wheels. Buyers can choose from six paint colors: white, black, gray, silver, blue, and green.

Chinese media are aptly referring to the storage box on the back as a school bag. In line with proper off roaders the tail door is side opening and has electric suction closing.

All models come equipped with automatic headlights, automatic wipers, the rear external storage, roof rack, electronic parking brake, 6-way electric seat for the driver, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, tire pressure monitoring, ESP, 15.6-inch central control screen, and 8 speaker sound system.

Mid-range models add folding side mirrors, 1.2 meters square panoramic sunroof, NFC key, 50W wireless charging, panoramic image, electric suction trunk door, Qualcomm 8155 chip to control the in car features, dashcam.

The high-end versions gain a heated steering wheel, seat heating, memory function, electric passenger seat, side curtain airbags, 12 speaker sound system, 64-color ambient lighting, driver’s seat massage and ventilation, passenger electric leg rest, DJI intelligent driving.

High end versions will have a  camera based L2+ intelligent driving assistance system.  It will allow route memory, highway NOA (navigation on autopilot), intelligent parking and some other functions.

The single motor version provides 135 kW (184 hp) to the rear axle with peak torque of 220 Nm. Meanwhile the four-wheel drive version has a maximum power of 205 kW (279 hp), a peak torque of 385 Nm, and is good for a 0-100 km/h acceleration time of 6.5 seconds

Outside the launch venue Chery displayed some modified versions of the iCar 03.

Chery picked plan

At the press conference Zhang Hongyu, deputy general manager of Chery Automobile Co., Ltd. and general manager of the iCAR brand division, said that Chery was targeting both sales of 10,000 a month and a 10,000 yuan (1,400 USD) profit on each car. Also mentioned at the press conference was that iCar would sell other categories of cars and not just SUVs with more to be announced at the Beijing Auto Show. Certainly at last’s year’s Shanghai Show there was an iCar GT concept shown.

Zhang Hongyu said “We plan to launch 2-3 new models to the market every year, 2 cars in 2024, and 3 or 4 cars in 2025, which are all new cars and new categories of models created by a new platform.”

Chery officials take questions about the iCar brand and iCar 03

Specifically Chery will unveil three new iCar series models at the Chery Brand Night at the Beijing Auto Show. Then the second iCar model, with the internal codename VR3, will be unveiled and go on pre-sale at the Guangzhou Auto Show in November before being officially launched in December.

Chery plans to open iCar dealerships in 100 cities in March focussing on second and third tier cities and it will be using shopping malls and exhibition halls to attract customers.

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