This is Chery's second big launch of the show, also with Italian design input, but here from Pininfarina rather than Torino Design. The A3 is a compact C-segment model available in four-door or five-door bodystyles and the co-ordinated presentation of the cars - all in silver - was very good and gave a sophisticated impression to the booth.
The exterior design picks up a number of current design cues that are typical of current Chinese car design: the DLO kicks up at the rear, similar to the new Roewe 550 or the GAIG 4-Door Coupe concept. The bodyside is sculpted and there is a hidden rear door handle, like the old Alfa 156. The wide clamshell hood has a character line from the A-pillar that drops down into the front mask and the upper grille has an interesting wave section, with a hexagonal mesh. The five-door feels fresher than the four-door, due partly to the taillamp graphic, with its outer ring of red LEDs. But the hi-mount stop lamp at the top of the tailgate is very old-fashioned, as is the wide bumper and bodyside protector with side repeater in the front edge.
Likewise, the interior is orthodox and initial impressions are good: a NAVI screen with controls on either side, a leather steering wheel and side curtain airbags. But dig deeper and the attention to tactile quality and ergonomics is zero. The door linings are all hard plastic, there's a cheap finish to storage lids and the rotary HVAC controls have a flimsy, gritty feeling to them. Then there's the coin tray and cupholder in the center stack: both slide out at right angles to the center stack, not horizontally, so are completely unusable.
It's clear this program development has been over-long or has been postponed by Chery. While the design is competent, it all feels a bit stale and much of the detailing and quality is already outdated, especially when compared to its chief rival, the new Roewe 550.