The $9990 Chery J1 and fellow Chinese import, the Great Wall X240, have been forced out of the Australian market after failing to comply with new mandatory electronic stability control (ESC) laws.
The law, which mandates that ESC must be fitted to all new passenger vehicles sold from November 1, has also led to the discontinuation of the Suzuki Jimny, which has been on sale in its current generation since 1998.
The law bans manufacturers from importing new vehicles without ESC, though allows the sale of vehicles imported before this month.
Chery will continue to sell the J3 small car and J11 SUV, both of which have been upgraded with standard ESC, while the diesel-powered version of Great Wall’s SUV, the X200, also comes with the potentially life-saving technology and remains on sale.
Cotterill says a new model, the Great Wall H6 manual, will replace the X240 in the first quarter of 2014, with an automatic version to follow late next year.
He said a replacement for the Chery J1 was on the local distributor’s radar, though would not be considered for our market until further down the track.
Sales of the Chery J1 – Australia’s cheapest car with a four-figure driveaway price tag – totalled just 165 to the end of September, less than half the number it managed over the same period in 2012. Great Wall X240 sales have also more than halved this year, down from 849 to 340.
Suzuki Jimny sales have actually increased four per cent this year to 725. A successor to the Suzuki Jimny, previewed by the Suzuki iV-4 concept, is confirmed to launch internationally in 2015.