News that promoter Malcolm Bricklin has hired Pierre Gagnon to oversee distribution of Chery Automobile Co.'s vehicles in North America was probably met with resounding cheers along the Great Wall in China.
After all, Gagnon, who will be president of Visionary Vehicles LLC, has more recent automotive distribution and retailing experience than Bricklin.
It doesn't matter that the chic Gagnon was forced out as CEO of Mitsubishi North America in September 2003 after Mitsubishi sales tanked and the company rang up enormous losses. The Chinese will appreciate his aggressive approach to retail financing and marketing.
While the U.S. auto industry waits to see if Bricklin actually will begin importing Chinese vehicles in a year or two, Europe is bracing for a Chinese invasion, perhaps as early as next month.
A Dutch car dealer says he will sell a Chinese SUV called the Landwind in as many as 27 European countries where he has exclusive contracts.
But there is a possible hitch: The vehicles haven't yet been certified as meeting European emission standards, according to Automotive News Europe.
Another Holland-based distributor claims it, too, is close to importing Chinese cars built by either Geely Holding or Chery.
Meanwhile, Chery says it is talking to other potential European distributors, but may delay its entry into Europe so it can focus on the United States.
If Chery decides to take a pass on Europe, their execs must be really happy to have Gagnon on board.
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