Chery's global expansion continues as the Chinese company prepares to enter South Africa, a market that owns 60 percent of all Africa.

A number of Chery vehicles in SUV, mini hatch, panel van and sedan shapes, have been spotted at the testing facility of Gerotek, north of Pretoria, the capital city of South Africa. The vehicles, obviously going through familiarisation with that country’s unique environments, were snapped parked near Gerotek’s technical testing centre.

No clear indication yet of which of the Chery models will eventually make their market appearance in SA towards the end of 2008, joining other Chinese names like GWM, Foton, Meiya and others. Chery has the benefit of producing near-Korean quality vehicles, but their designs have come under constant fire for being plagiarised from other automakers. The company sold 381 000 vehicles in 2007, up 24.8 percent from 2006.

More often than not, western markets raise the question of quality when it comes to Chinese-manufactured vehicles, yet everyone acknowledges that many of their toys, electronics, sneakers etc, boast a “made in China” sticker where the eyes can’t see. Chery is a Germany TUV-certified company, not meaning they match German quality, but rather that they meet the minimum standards required, whatever those may be. No need to panic then. Or is there?

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