Okay, I’m accustomed to encountering unknown car names in Geneva. This is the show they all seem to come to. But tucked away in a corner of the upstairs hall was a big, sleekly designed display with what appeared to be a full line of compact cars. The cars looked Chinese, but the presentation and personnel were far too stylish. It turns out that DR is assembling knocked-down Chinese Chery cars in a plant in Macchia d'Isernia, Italy, starting with the Chery Tiggo medium SUV (sold as the DR 5) and moving on to the Chery Faira NN (DR 1). Debuting this year are the DR2 (Chery A1) and DR3, a three-door riff on the DR5 mini-ute.
The company started out selling cars just in its neighboring region through Hyper shopping malls, but now has a network of 60 dealers in Italy and will be expanding into Spain this year. Turkey and Slovenia are the next export markets. At the other end of the spectrum, the brand has also imported the Saleen S7 supercar. Perhaps company president Massimo Di Risio is Italy’s Malcolm Bricklin? Sales are up to roughly 8000/year today.