Chery's diminutive J1 hatch is now Australia's most affordable car, thanks to a chunky cashback deal.
At $11,990 drive-away, the Chinese car shares the same price point as the Proton S16 - but thanks to a $1000 rebate, buyers of the J1 are essentially paying just $10,990 drive-away.
The new price brings the J1 closer to being Australia's only sub-$10k car, moving it even further away from the $12,490 drive-away price of the Suzuki Alto.
Chery Australia General Manager Dinesh Chinnappa pointed to the strenth of the Australian dollar as the driving force behind the price cut.
“The Australian dollar is running at levels not seen since 1983, the year Australia won the America’s Cup,” Mr Chinnappa said. “We have decided to pass on the benefit of the strong Australian dollar to the Australian car buying public.
“The massive recent expansion of the Chinese auto industry will have increasing benefits for Australian consumers in coming years via a greater variety of vehicles on sale with low prices and high levels of standard equipment that represent unbeatable value for money."
The J1 is powered by a 1.3 litre petrol engine producing 62kW and 122Nm of torque, with fuel consumption listed at 6.7 l/100km on the combined cycle.
Standard features include power steering, air-conditioning, alloy wheels, power windows and mirrors, an MP3-compatible six-speaker stereo and remote keyless centry.
On the safety front, the J1 offers only dual front airbags, without the option for additional airbags. Front seatbelt tensioners are standard, along with ABS and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution.
The J1 has not been tested by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program and does not carry a safety rating.
Electronic Stability Control is not offered with the J1, making it illegal for sale in Victoria, where ESC became mandatory on all new cars from January 1 this year.
The technology will also be mandatory on new passenger cars sold around Australia from November. ESC is expected to be fitted to the J1 by November, allowing sales to continue, along with Victorian availability.
The J1 is covered by a three-year, 100,000km warranty and 24/7 roadside assistance.
By contrast, the Suzuki Alto offers 4 Star ANCAP safety, with ABS, ESC and six airbags as standard.
The Alto is powered by a 1.0 litre three-cylinder petrol engine producing 50kW and 90Nm of torque, with fuel consumption listed at 4.7 l/100km.
In 2009, the Alto was awarded runner-up in TMR's Best Drive, Best Value Awards.