There seems to be a steady increase in the number of Chinese made cars here in Singapore and I've been starting to wonder why people actually buy them. The safety records are terrible, the engines are far from refined and the quality of the cars are mostly horrible as well. Cheap plastics, body work which looks to be made out of tin foil and if I were sitting or driving in one of them, I'd feel like any small accident would kill me. But now, Chery has released its latest creation. The A3. That changes things a bit.
The earliest local resident Chinese car was introduced by Chery. And the Chery QQ became the beacon of light which China had shone on our shores. However, Geely soon came along and brought in their popular CK model which made some modders relatively happy with its compact shape and body which had 'sporty' potential. The QQ was always looked down upon by many and its safety record wasn't exactly stunning as well. Maybe stunning in the wrong department. If you happen to have a crash in the QQ, expect to die. Basically thats what their safety report shows. And if you thought that buying a cheap China made car would mean that its friendly to your wallet, you'd want to think again. On paper, the QQ is meant to do 24km/l, but most drivers complain that they're only doing 12km/l. So much for the company's integrity as well..
How do you feel now?
However, things have changed and the Chinese manufacturers have definitely gone back to the drawing board to rethink their ideas and creations. We shouldn't forget than not long ago, Korean cars were still seen as poorly made cars, but look at them now! Hopefully, with Chery's new A3 (definitely a far cry from their 'friends' at Audi, and they should be expecting a lawsuit soon from them), they can turn things around. From the looks of it, thats a plus point to the Chinese. This is by far the nicest looking car that has come from the factories of China. And with good reason too. It was styled by the designers at Pininfarina and that has definitely helped in the styling department. As for the engine and its performance, not so good. It would take roughly 13 seconds to reach a 100km/h and its top speed is a safe 174km/h. Technology and safety wise, there has also been improvement. Here's a quote from their website: "The body structure of Chery A3 hatchback is mostly made of high strength steel sheet (40%), approaching to the level of steel sheet on VOLVO cars". So they say.. And they now have stability control and ABS which is also another improvement. Airbags can now be deployed from the sides too, and that's much better than before.
I would like to drive this car one day to see how it handles but for now, I think that even though the performance isn't great, this is like Mao's Great Leap Forward. It is a big step that they have made. I am certain that Chinese made cars will be improving in the near future and the A3 is one clear example. Of course they need to settle some issues with the name, and the quality standards, but I think they'll get there one day..