Zotye Automobile has announced plans to become the “first Chinese company to sell vehicles in the United States under its own Chinese brand name.”
As part of this mission, the company has joined forces with HAAH Automotive Holdings to launch Zotye USA. Its headquarters will be located in Lake Forest, California.
Zotye was tight-lipped about specifics, but confirmed the brand’s first model will be an SUV. The company went on to say “engineering development and homologation work on the model is underway and is proceeding smoothly.” If everything goes according to plan, Zotye will begin sales in 2020.
While the company declined to say which model will be offered in the United States, HAAH Automotive Holdings’ website says Zotye is “developing numerous new models to be launched between 2018 and 2022. One of these new models will be the first product launched in the USA [in the] fourth quarter of 2020.”
Zotye USA is currently looking for interested dealerships and HAAH Automotive Holdings CEO Duke Hale said “I am beyond thrilled to make this announcement” and “we have begun setting up a franchised dealer network to handle sales and service in America.” Autoweek reports approximately 20 dealers have already signed up and they will be announced next month.
Speaking of the dealers, Zotye is reportedly looking at examples set by Tesla and Saturn. The Tesla example seems far-fetched considering several traditional dealers have already signed up, but the Saturn model could still be possible. While General Motors famously shuttered the brand during its bankruptcy, Saturn billed itself as a “different kind of car company” and become known for its no haggle pricing.
While Zotye isn’t as widely known as some other Chinese automakers, the company has a reputation for blatantly copying European designs. Its T600 echoes the Volkswagen Tiguan and Touareg, while the T700 is a bit of a Range Rover Evoque knockoff.