Plans to import first Chinese cars to US scrapped amid pandemic

Now you’re just a brand that I used to know…


Zotye

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It looked like after decades of promises, we’d finally see Chinese cars on US roads. The coronavirus pandemic has, however, shifted plans.

Said plans hinged on HAAH Automotive Holdings’ agreement to import vehicles from China’s Zotye and sell them at franchised US dealers. HAAH CEO Duke Hale told Automotive News on Wednesday that plans for importing a Zotye crossover are officially on the back burner.

The CEO cited a massive sales hit to Zotye in its home country and said the company will work to sort the business out overseas before eyeing an expansion to the US. Zotye, along with HAAH, had signed on dealers in 100 markets around the US to sell an affordable crossover from the brand. HAAH confirmed the news with Roadshow but declined to comment further.

Dealers will be able to keep the franchise, and as a bonus, Hale said they’ll be able to sell another Chinese brand: Vantas.

Lots of different designs going on here.


Chery/HAAH

Vantas is a new name for China’s Chery Automobile, which plans to not just sell a luxury SUV in the US, but build it here, too. HAAH plans to double its focus and efforts to get Vantas off the ground in the US, and when it does, any dealer onboard for Zotye will be able to sell Vantas-branded cars at no additional cost. So far, there’s been no word on a final location to build the Vantas SUV. At the end of the day, the SUV is really just a rebadged Chery Exeed TX that plans to do battle with other established luxury brands.

As for Zotye, imports could still happen, but Hale believes it won’t be ready to revisit for a few years. Looks like it will still be awhile until Chinese cars hit the road.


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