Speaking to journalists at the 13th Shanghai Auto Show over the weekend, Zhou said despite the global slowdown, the auto sector in China continues growing. "Sales for the past three months have not decreased despite the crisis," he said. "In that period, we sold more than 100,000 cars. But we also cannot say the crisis has had no effect on China."
On a possible investment in Turkey, Zhou said first the company has to reach "a certain level" in sales. "But still, we hope to reach an accord with Mermerler [the Turkish distributor of Chery] in the near future. After feasibility work, we will be able to say whether this is a viable and correct investment or not. And Turkish customers are the ones to accelerate this process. So much as they buy Chery cars, we can invest in Turkey faster."
Recalling that a possible location for investment is Sakarya, Zhou said the decision also depends on government support. "The Turkish government is expecting new investments. We were at the final stage in investments, but as you know, there were the local elections. As the elections are now over, we will be able to convey our position to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan more openly."
Chery produces "high-quality and good priced vehicles," the vice president said. "We will bring every model you see in China to Turkey. What we do first is bringing the spare parts first and then import vehicles. We want to see every model you see here [at the Auto Show.]"
Zhou declined to give a figure on a possible investment in Turkey. "This depends on which models we will produce and how," he said. "We think feasibility work will continue for two more months. In July, we will have made a decision on investing."
The Chinese firm thinks of Turkey as similar to the European market, according to Feng Ping, vice president of Chery International. Noting that Chery has exported 30 percent of its production last year, with Russia as the biggest market with 30,000 vehicles annually, Feng said they aim to enter the U.S. market in two years.
Speaking on Chery’s performance in Turkey, Murat Mermer, vice president of Mermerler Otomotiv, said they sold 3,700 Chery cars in Turkey last year.
With the temporary reduction in private consumption tax, sales this year have reached 450, he said.
"We can increase our sales further," Mermer said. "We did not reflect the appreciation of the U.S. dollar to our prices. Our sales prices are very attractive today.
We aimed for 20,000 units sold this year, but due to the crisis, the figure may stand at 10,000."
Chery displayed 16 models at the Shanghai Auto Show this year, including hybrid and electric-powered vehicles. The "Niche" model of the company will be put on sale in the Turkish market in the second half of the year.