China's Chery Automobile Company, which is designing and building a range of new vehicles for Malcolm Bricklin's Visionary Vehicles to sell in the United States, has hired Toyota veteran Wen Tianzhong as vice president of product quality and manufacturing.

Tianzhong moves to Chery with more than a decade of senior management experience in the auto industry, a majority of which was gained overseeing Toyota's manufacturing interests in China.

In a statement, Bricklin said: "We have always admired Toyota's processes and assembly techniques as a model. Chery is clearly taking the right steps to achieve world-class quality."

"This is a very bold and exciting move by Chery," said Dennis Gore, Visionary Vehicles' chief engineer and R&D head. "Toyota's manufacturing techniques and assembly processes, build some of the finest cars in the world. "

After being trained by Toyota in the "Toyota Way" in 1995, Tianzhong headed the Toyota Technology Centre in China as its Director. He subsequently became director of the Tianjun Toyota Automobile Company in 2000, where he oversaw quality and technology. In 2004 Tianzhong became a vice president of the Great Wall Automobile Company.

As Chery's newest vice-president, he will be responsible for managing Chery's vehicle quality and production.