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Chery is planning to enter the UK market with a range of plug-in hybrid and electric models in 2026, according to the executive vice-president of the Chinese car maker’s export division, Charlie Zhang.

In an interview with Australian media, Zhang said Chery’s recently announced return to the Australian market after a seven-year hiatus “springboards its aspirations to enter the UK”.

While stopping short of confirming what models Chery has identified for the UK, Zhang said the Australian market was a litmus test, confirming the Chinese state-owned company’s plan to enter the UK was timed to introduce an electrified model range of both plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles.

“We are preparing product developments for the UK, because the electrification of the market is very fast,” he said.

Zhang, who is overseeing the launch of the Chery Omoda 5 in export markets, said Australia is not just important because it is right-hand drive.

“It is a highly developed market and has regulations that are similar to the EU regulations. So, it is important as a test market for the UK,” he said.

In Australia, the Omoda 5 is set to compete against the MG ZS EV and Hyundai Kona Electric.

The new SUV is powered by a front-mounted electric motor developing 201bhp and 295lb ft allied to a 64kWh lithium ion battery. Chery quotes a WLTP range of 280 miles.

Other recently launched Chery models identified by Zhang for new export markets, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa and Turkey, include the Tiggo SUV and Arrizo saloon.

A joint-venture partner to Jaguar Land Rover in China since 2012, Chery currently operates under three brand names, including Jetour and Exeed.

The Wuhu-based company is also preparing to unveil a new upmarket brand, details of which will be confirmed in early 2023, according to Chery officials.

Chery’s 2022 sales have risen by 38.8% in January to October 2022 compared with the same period last year, at 1,026,758. Included are 207,893 sales of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles, according to figures released by the Chinese car maker.

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