By on March 17, 2010

When China’s Chery announced last December that they would be will be the first ever Chinese brand to enter the venerable Dakar Rally, a lot of people said: “Yeah, sure. Chinese cars, in the Dakar? Don’t they fall apart when they leave the lot?”

Chery’s team didn’t win, but they survived. Drivers Lu Ningjun and Jiang Yaohuan of the Chery Rely Fleet finished the rally in 28th and 29th place. Other Chinese drivers also made it past the finish line of the gruelling race: Team Great Wall ranked 33rd, Team Cool Car Time came in 44th. Not bad for a race where 40 percent drop out. The race itself was won by Spaniard Carlos Sainz. Nasser al-Attiyah of Qatar came in second, both in a (yeah, sure) Volkswagen Touareg.

Why are we rehashing Dakar Rally results from January? Chery will launch the Dakar-surviving X5 SUV under the Rely sub-brand on March 28, nearly three months after the vehicle’s 2010 Dakar trial, Gasgoo reports. The X5 2.0 liter direct injected version is expected to go for $23,400. The puny engine, used in an SUV for the first time, is good for 235Nm of torque and 146kW of power. More like a shopping cart, and nothing to win a rally with. Chery/Rely also promised a turbo diesel for those who want more oomph. And while on the way to Wal-Mart (yeah, they have those in Beijing) you can dream of winning the Dakar.

Any similarities with the BMW X5 are purely coincidental. BMW came in 3rd at the race. In a X3.

Speaking of similarities, B&B member MCS correctly points out that the Rely brand has won notoriety for a less manly product in the U.S.A. 1978 Procter and Gamble introduced superabsorbent Rely tampons, which killed 40 women due to toxic shock syndrome. Rely was pulled off the shelves in 1980.  Chery may want to re-think its branding strategy before selling the Rely X5 to soccer moms in the U.S.A.

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8 Comments on “Race In January, Sell In March: China’s Chery To Launch Dakar-Tested Rely SUVs...”

  • avatar

    Luckily, the suspension didn’t fall victim to toxic shock syndrome.

  • avatar

    Remember, we named it Rely.

  • avatar

    Making a cost-no-object race car supported by a 24x7x365 team of corporate brain-trust engineers is a lot different than making an economy car to a price point that might see semi-regular oil changes at the hands of a high-school co-op student.

    Case in point: Ferrari’s F1 cars versus your uncle’s Fiat Punto.

    • 0 avatar

      or another case in point:

      Toyota’s top-buck, top-dollar, top-talent recent 4 yr (or was it 8 yr?) F1 effort that yielded exactly….zilch.

      And of course that has nothing to do w/ your uncle’s Toyota Prius, or your aunt’s Coroola, or your grandfather’s Lexua, or your kids’ Yaris or whatever the point of this comparison was.

  • avatar
    Kristjan Ambroz

    You sure that is 146 kW Bertel, or is it 146 hp – the former would be quite a high state of tune for a NA petrol 2 litre in an SUV.

  • avatar

    Too bad that Dakar isn’t Dakar any more, since the organizers got a threat from Al Q and went running off with their tails between their legs – the terrorists say ‘jump’ and we ask ‘how high?’.

    Has it ever occurred to anyone that letting terrorists have a veto on any cultural event or human freedom they please is precisely what they want? Hell, why not cut to the chase and just ask Al Qaeda for a little manual of things that are acceptable for us to do, so they don’t have to go through the trouble of issuing a specific threat for each event they’d like us to cancel…

    Sorry. Sore spot. Dakar was one of the last and purest races around, and the one event not shredded by safety paranoia, was eviscerated instead by some guys who not only didn’t kill anyone with machine guns, or even scare anyone with machine guns, but threatened that they MIGHT scare someone with machine guns.


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