You’ll almost certainly have never heard of Omoda, which is not surprising. It’s a brand-new car company from China and is due to launch in the UK in early 2024.
If you follow the car industry, you may have heard of Omoda’s parent company, Chery, which is a state-owned car manufacturer that has been around for 25 years and has previously tried to break into the UK market without success.
Chery is one of China’s top ten car manufacturers and operates a number of sub-brands. Omoda is the company’s European-focused brand, and also operates in countries like South Africa and Mexico.
More problematic for many UK buyers will be the fact that the Omoda brand was actually launched in Russia in late 2022, with the deliberate strategy of exploiting the withdrawal of Western automotive brands from the country following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Undoubtedly, this will not sit well in countries like the UK, and will be a major impediment to Omoda’s plans for short-term growth in European markets.
So who or what is Omoda?
Omoda is one of the world’s newest car brands, being less than a year old. It’s currently in the process of establishing its UK operations ahead of first car sales in early 2024, and will also move into continental Europe over the next year.
Omoda is part of Chery, a state-owned Chinese car company. The vehicles we will get in the UK for the brand’s launch are badged as Chery models in China and other markets.
Originally, Chery planned to launch in Europe with one of its other brands called Exeed, but this was put on hold as the Covid-19 pandemic swept across the world and the new plan is to use the name Omoda.
Like most emerging names in the Chinese car industry, Omoda is heavily invested in electric vehicle technology. But unlike the other Chinese brands arriving in the UK (Aiways, BYD, Ora, Nio), Omoda will also bring a number of petrol and hybrid models.
When will Omoda launch in the UK?
Omoda is currently establishing its UK operations in West London and is recruiting local dealerships to represent the brand. The first cars are due to launch in February 2024, so we’ll probably have full pricing and specifications, along with launch reviews, before the end of this year.
The company plans to hit the ground running, with a target to sell 15,000 cars next year. This will be a combination of retail and fleet sales.
What models does Omoda have coming?
Omoda will launch with a mid-size SUV model in the UK, which will be called the Omoda 5. This is called the Chery Omoda C5 in other markets, but we assume that Citroën had something to say about that for Europe since it uses the C5 name already.
We assume that future models will follow a numbering strategy for smaller and larger models. For example, in some markets the company has a small SUV called the Chery Omoda 3.
The Omoda 5 will be available in two versions. There’ll be a 1.6-litre petrol model, as well as the Omoda 5 EV, which (as you can probably guess) will be an electric version of the same vehicle. The petrol version has already been tested by safety body Euro NCAP and awarded a top five-star rating, which is a good start.
The company has told us that it plans to have seven models on sale by 2025. The initial focus will be a range of SUVs, particularly with smaller models that are likely to sell well. All will offer a range of power options, so you can expect to choose between petrol, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles.
Where can I try an Omoda car?
The first dealerships are expected to be up and running by the start of 2024. There are no details as yet, but the company has ambitious plans. An Omoda spokesperson told The Car Expert that the company has spoken to 100 UK dealers, with 40 having already submitted proposals for an Omoda franchise.
What’s particularly significant about Omoda?
Unlike the rest of the new wave of Chinese car manufacturers heading to Europe, Omoda plans to offer petrol and plug-in hybrid models alongside the inevitable electric vehicles.
The company believes that there is still plenty of value in the fossil-fuel new car market over the next few years, and intends to take advantage of that while charging infrastructure is gradually rolled out across the country.
It’s easy to dismiss Omoda as yet another Chinese car company with big plans for the UK – like Aiways, BYD, Nio and Ora. But this one has the almost unlimited backing of the Chinese government, meaning that Omada is less likely to be sensitive to the usual business requirement of making short-term profits.
At the time of writing, there are still about six months to go until we see the first vehicles from Omoda on UK roads. That means we can expect to see a flurry of announcements with regard to pricing and specifications for the Omoda 5 SUV models, as well as dealership information and any finance offers. Stay tuned…
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