The Exeed TX showcases Chery’s ‘Life in Motion’ design philosophy, developed by Chief Designer James Hope. It’s the car that Chery plans to spearhead its launch into Europe, and is aimed at “young, urban, forward-thinking customers who choose sophisticated, high quality products.”
“Exeed is part of Chery’s brand exploration”, says Bierzynski.
“In package terms it’s comparable with the Ford Kuga, VW Tiguan and others, but aspirationally, we’re looking more at luxury brands to benchmark our exterior design.”
“James is now in Germany looking at sites for our tech centre.” explains Bierzynski. “There’s nothing operational yet, but we’ll have a European centre that will help us expand our global footprint for product development.”
Apart from the practical element of getting European homologation for future products, the real key is to add what Bierzynski describes as “a European flavour” into all the Exeed products.
Bierzynski references the Chinese market preference for ‘presence’, and the TX’s front-end has that – a strong face, with a 3D black-out grille graphic somewhat reminiscent of Mitsubishi’s Outlander, but one that certainly has confidence. The show car’s 19” wheels looked a little lost - partly a result of the tall bonnet-line, partly the very slim headlamp graphic.
“China is creating its own series of characteristics, and from our perspective we have a focus on a powerful lighting signature: full-width LED light bars, a unique characteristic we’re keen to leverage.” Chery’s brand-bar has historically been chrome and updating it with a nod to the technology that’s “now a priority within the brand, is a key feature for us.” Bierzynski adds.
Chery’s hydrodynamic surfacing is evolving. “We’re on generation 2.0” explains Bierzynski, “and this next generation we call ‘FLOW’. If you look at the surfacing, it simulates the flow of water; that natural and dynamic movement.”
Inside, connectivity and infotainment are a priority: large 10” TFT screen, full TFT cluster, slick graphics. The TFT displays within the HVAC controls are an example of the Chinese-market priority of visible technology, and show either temperature or time via a decent digi-analogue clock face.
The interior, with a high centre-console, feels well-built and entirely contemporary. It’s not as adventurous as the Peugeot 3008’s i-cockpit, but it’s perhaps a little more intuitive and familiar.
Returning to the exterior, there’s a pronounced light-catcher which kicks up and through the rear wheelarch, drawing the eye towards the rear light-cluster. That cluster, which like the front is a full-width LED, blends into a generous rear haunch. The DLO has a distinct kick-up at the belt-line towards the very slim C-pillar – something that gives the greenhouse a dynamic, athletic feel.
Chery looks like a confident brand – viewed objectively, the Exeed TX is not a groundbreaking design, and the surfacing is conventional, but what it represents for Chery should not be underestimated: this is a handsome SUV that, badge-aside, many would assume was a Korean brand making inroads into the established premium brands.
Indeed, several designers commented that the TX has a presence and a visual strength that’s missing from some of the existing offerings from established OEMs...
For more on the star cars of the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, click here.