US: Auto entrepreneur seeks new Chinese partner
Car retailing entrepreneur Malcolm Bricklin is after a new partner in China to build cars for the US market after the collapse of a deal with Chery Automobile Company.
According to Agence France Presse (AFP), Bricklin said he was holding discussions with several Chinese automakers able "to build a factory to manufacture cars designed and engineered to our vision and specifications."
AFP noted that Chery Automobile confirmed last month the end of a deal to export cars to the United States through a joint venture with Bricklin.
Bricklin, who introduced Subaru to the United States in the 1960s, and Yugo in the 1980s, planned to import 250,000 Chery cars through 250 US dealers as early as 2007 and, through his Visionary Vehicles group, also planned to develop five low-cost cars with luxury vehicle content.
Bricklin reportedly said that a Chinese-made car successful in the US would have to be designed primarily for that market and subsequently adapted for other markets rather than adapted for the US from Chinese specification.
"Great quality is the only option," Bricklin told Agence France Presse.
Bricklin reportedly said dealers allied with Visionary Vehicles have not abandoned the project, which hinges on delivering a vehicle to customers with a price other manufacturers cannot match.
"As we have learned, our success is dependent on Visionary Vehicles being responsible for all aspects of design, engineering and safety and emission regulations while developing manufacturer relationships to support those goals," he said.
Bricklin told AFP he had met with several Chinese manufacturers during the Beijing motor show last month to discuss future involvement.
AFP noted that Chery is being courted by DaimlerChrysler to develop a subcompact model for Chrysler, which could be built in China and sold in the United States, and that a deal is likely to be inked by year's end.