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Jaecoo J7 set for January launch

It’s yet another new brand with an off-road offering, but pulls together remarkable track records, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

You may not have heard of Jaecoo but, before long, won’t stop hearing about it.

It comes out of the Chery stable, which startled the South African market this year with the launch of the Omoda brand here. Not startling because of it being a new brand, but because it brought high-end luxury SUV features and technology to a mid-range price level.

Now, Chery will do the same for off-road SUVs, launching the Jaecoo as a rugged but high-tech stablemate for the Omoda. The Jaecoo and Omoda will be joined at the hip, so you speak, falling under a new parent brand, the somewhat unwieldy “Omoda & Jaecoo”.

The parallel to Jaguar Land Rover is interesting. That brand, too, fuses luxury SUV and off-road brands, with the Jaguar F-Pace and I-Pace on the one hand and the rugged Land Rover adventure range on the other. The Omoda and, probably, the Jaecoo are likely to offer similar features as those high-end cars at half the price.

Jaecoo not only draws on the experience of Chery in carving out a new niche – Chery has burst into the top ten of passenger car sales in South Africa – but also on its experience and remarkable success in identifying segments that it could infiltrate with accessible pricing.

Its slogan “From Classic, Beyond Classic” seems to reflect both this legacy and its intentions to take on truly classic  brands like Jaguar and Land Rover.  

Jaecoo sees the “beyond classic ” element differently, though. It said in a statement followng an unveiling of the J7 in Cape Townlast week: “Jaecoo relentlessly pursues breakthroughs, especially in terms of dynamic performance and technological innovation, transcending the classics and delivering a sense of the future and technology to a broader consumer base.”

Shannon Gahagan, national brand and marketing manager for Omoda&Jaecoo, said: “The upcoming J7 will be South Africa’s first taste of the future of intelligent mobility when it arrives early next year.

“Tougher than typical urban SUVs but more comfortable than traditional off-roaders, the J7 is poised to start a new urban off-roading trend among local buyers. Add a raft of remarkable safety features, forward-thinking technologies and chic design – all courtesy of master design teams assembled from countries such as the United Kingdom and Germany – and you’ll find the J7 is like no other.”

The J7 uses proprietary ARDIS intelligent off-roading system, and features 7 drive modes – which appears to be a new be chmark across off-road brands – allowing it to adapt to a wide variety of terrains.

The exterior includes a matrix-style grille, slim LED headlights and flush door handles. A minimalist interior includes an expansive 24.6-inch screen.

“While our product rollout in South Africa will commence with the eagerly anticipated J7 early in 2024, there’s plenty more to come from the brand,” says Gahagan. “Later next year, for instance, Jaecoo will also launch the new, larger J8 – which was revealed in Qatar as recently as October – packed full of more segment-redefining features, from an ultra-smart curved infotainment screen to row-specific climate control.”

The J7 PHEV is set to be introduced in the third quarter of 2024, before the flagship J8 arrives in the fourth quarter. Local specifications and pricing will be released at a later stage.

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