A Chinese company may finally start seling cars in the United States. Zotye Automobile plans to begin importing the T600 small crossover in 2020 or 2021, and has already begun signing up dealers to sell the car. Zotye isn’t the only Chinese automaker trying to sell cars in the U.S., but by selecting a specific car to sell and beginning to construct a dealer network, it appears to be ahead of its rivals.
Zotye’s first planned U.S. model, the T600, was unveiled at the 2019 Shanghai Auto Show. The U.S.-market version will have a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission, but Zotye didn’t disclose any other specifications or a price. In a statement, Bob Pradzinski, senior vice president of sales for Zotye’s U.S. division, said work to certify the T600 for U.S. sales is proceeding on schedule, and that the company plans to launch sales at the end of 2020 or early 2021.
Zotye plans to follow up the T600 with at least two more vehicles — a midsize crossover and a sedan — but won’t discuss when those models will arrive. The company claims to have signed up 60 dealers signed up to date, and hopes to have 100 ready to go by the time the T600 goes on sale, with an ultimate goal of 325 U.S. dealers. Zotye is also looking into online sales, reports Automotive News.
Chinese-made cars, such as the Buick Envision, Cadillac CT6 Plug-In Hybrid, and certain Volvo models, have been sold in the U.S. before, but no passenger car from a Chinese brand is currently sold here. Zotye has some competition in the race to be the first Chinese brand to do that.
GAC Motor has had a stand at the Detroit Auto Show for several years now, showing both production and concept cars. The company previously said it hoped to begin U.S. sales by the end of 2019, but that may be pushed back due to current tensions between the U.S. and Chinese governments over trade. Chinese startups Nio and Byton have also discussed selling cars in the U.S. beginning in 2020. While Zotye and GAC plan to enter the U.S. market with conventional cars, Nio and Byton are looking to emulate the success of Tesla with luxurious, tech-heavy electric cars.
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