Visionary Vehicles president Malcolm Bricklin, who plans to import vehicles from Chery Automotive in China to the US said on Tuesday that legal action against the company by General Motors over the closeness of Chery to its “Chevy” brand is forcing him to choose another name, The Car Connection (TCC) website reported.

TCC reported last May that Bricklin said then that it was unlikely he would pursue using the Chery name in the US even though the Chinese manufacturer of the vehicles preferred to have its name in the U.S. as part of its global expansion.
“They [GM] win,” Bricklin told TCC at the Reuters Autos Summit in Detroit. “The last thing I need is to have 250 signs taken down,” Bricklin reportedly said. “I can’t afford to even gamble.”

The Car Connection noted that there is already bad blood between Chery and GM in China where GM has accused the Chinese automaker of copying one of its designs.

TCC noted that Bricklin’s privately held Visionary Vehicles has signed a deal with China’s Chery with the goal of selling 250,000 Chery vehicles in the first year, starting in 2007, and eventually one million units annually but Bricklin and company executives have said that the 2007 start may slide to 2008 to ensure quality and because of some design changes, but that it is aiming for the year after next.

According to The Car Connection, Bricklin said he is now considering using the Visionary Vehicles name to market the cars and has ruled out using his own Bricklin name for the cars after the celebrated failure of his Canadian car company of the same name in the 1970s, though he has held out the possibility of branding a model, or the hybrids he intends to introduce, with the “Bricklin” name.

TCC said the man best known for importing the cheap Yugo hatchback into the United States in the 1980s told it he had signed 30 dealers to sell the Chinese-built cars and had 163 others in the pipeline.

Visionary chooses vehicle distributor