Are Americans ready to accept Chinese car brands? We'll find out soon enough as another Chinese automaker has announced its intention to enter the United States.
Zotye announced last November that it will work with importer HAAH Automotive to start selling cars here by late 2020 or early 2021, and on Thursday the automaker confirmed that the first model will be a redesigned version of its T600 small crossover SUV, which was previewed in April at Auto Shanghai 2019 by the A16 and B21 concepts.
Zotye A16 concept - 2019 Shanghai auto show
HAAH, headquartered in Lake Forest, California, was founded by former Mazda and Volvo executive Duke Hale and has the U.S. distribution rights for Zotye (pronounced Zo-tay), as well as Middle Eastern supercar brand W Motors. Yes, W Motors' Fenyr Supersport can be ordered via HAAH, assuming you can afford the $1,670,000 price tag.
HAAH is signing up dealers to handle products, service and parts for Zotye vehicles across North America. Around 60 stores are signed up but the goal is approximately 325, and to stand out HAAH wants its dealers to offer fixed pricing.
Zotye B21 concept - 2019 Shanghai auto show
"This T600 is a perfect vehicle for the U.S. market and I'm very excited to announce it will be the first Zotye product to go on sale here,” Hale said in a statement. “The vehicle has excellent quality, outstanding safety features and will be very well equipped with a unique design that will make it popular with American buyers.”
Beyond the T600, which will likely feature a 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4 mated to a 6-speed automatic, HAAH is looking to bring in a future mid-size SUV as well as a sedan.
Zotye B21 and A16 concepts - 2019 Shanghai auto show
Zotye is probably most (in)famous for its clones of popular models like the Porsche Macan and Land Rover Range Rover Sport. However, it is also a key partner of Ford. The two joined forces in 2017 to establish a joint venture to develop electric cars for sale in China under a new brand.
Zotye's latest announcement follows fellow Chinese automaker GAC Motor's promise in January to also enter the U.S. by late 2020. Then there's Qiantu, which together with local partner Mullen Technologies plans to start building cars in the U.S. by the second half of 2020. Qiantu's first model will be an electric sports car called the K50.