Starting in 2021, when considering a new vehicle to buy, you can add a new name to the list. Zotye (pronounced zoh-tay) is looking to be the first Chinese automaker to have a dealer network in place in the United States, with 100 dealerships already signed on, including the top 10 markets. Zotye intends to eventually have a network for 350 dealers.
Zotye USA, headquartered in Irvine, California, is a wholly owned subsidiary of HAAH Automotive Holdings. According to its website “HAAH Automotive Holdings was formed by a group of leading auto industry executives and experts to create a new experience both for customers and its dealer partners.
“Designed to meet the needs of 21st-century car buyers, the company is creating new methods, processes and procedures to increase transparency, clarify pricing, and simplify purchase and vehicle service for customers.”
Zotye USA will handle all sales, distribution, parts, and service for Zotye vehicles in the U.S. The vehicles will initially be imported from China where they are currently designed, engineered, and produced. According to Forbes Magazine, Bob Pradzinski, Zotye USA senior vice president of sales, said in a statement, “These new ideas will dramatically improve the current system, bringing in greater simplicity to the purchase process and more transparency for customers while also offering dealers unique advantages.”
Zotye doesn’t want customers in their dealerships to worry about haggling and not knowing whether they got the best price. They want to create an experience that customers will love, instead of them facing the usual bombardment of salespeople the minute they step onto a lot. These dealerships will only have one model to sell at first, the T600 crossover. A different SUV and a sedan and an electric vehicle are slated to come in the next few years.
Worldwide, Zotye sold 317,000 units in 2018 with visions of becoming globally competitive. Breaking into the U.S market will be a big step forward in that goal, but customers will have to want to look toward buying Chinese. In the U.S., there is an ever-changing political climate about China, it seems as though one minute we are allies and the next they are accused of taking advantage of the American consumer and businessperson. There should be a bit of hand-wringing by prospective dealers as to how the American buyer will feel about spending their American dollar on a Chinese car.
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