Chinese automaker (and Ford partner in China) Zotye Automobile and HAAH Automotive Holdings have announced the creation of a new business unit to handle the sale of an SUV in the US market from 2020.
Zotye USA is being set up to handle vehicle sales, distribution, aftermarket parts and service in the US. The move comes in spite of higher Trump administration tariffs applying to Chinese-made vehicles imported to the US.
Zotye says it will be the first Chinese company to sell vehicles in the US under its own Chinese brand name.
Zoyte USA will be based in Lake Forest, California and Zotye says the search for dealers is ‘already underway’.
Zotye Automobile International Co. designs, engineers, manufactures and sells the Zotye brand vehicles in China and globally.
The company’s first US marketed product will be an SUV but the specific model has not been announced. Engineering development and homologation work on the model is underway and is ‘proceeding smoothly’, the company says. Sales to retail customers in the US are expected to begin in 2020, Zotye maintains.
“I am beyond thrilled to make this announcement, the result of more than four years of discussions and negotiations with the Zotye in China. With the agreement, we have begun setting up a franchised dealer network to handle sales and service in America. We’ve had discussions with several major dealers already and will have more to say about that in the months to come,” said Duke Hale, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of HAAH Automotive Holdings.
“HAAH has rich experience in automobile sales and a series of unique and feasible innovative sales concepts, which will successfully propel Zotye Automobile in the American market. This cooperation extends the solid foundation for Zotye Automobile in the international market,” said Wangsheng Zhu, Chairman of Zotye Automobile International Co.
The Zotye USA sales team is being led by Senior Vice President of Sales Bob Pradzinski. Other members of the senior executive team will be announced in the future, the company said.
“HAAH Automotive Holdings is a disruptor and we will be adding innovative features and processes to the customer and franchise dealer system. 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. The result will be a system that will function better for everyone,” said Pradzinski.
Zotye was formed in 1998 and today is a holding company for about 30 different firms with more than 30,000 employees. It has major manufacturing and operations facilities in nine Chinese cities and research and design operations in four countries.
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’. It says it is ‘designed to meet the needs of 21st century car buyers’, and is creating new methods, processes and procedures to increase transparency, clarify pricing, and simplify purchase and vehicle service for the customer.