DETROIT -- Dealer Tim Ciasulli has invested $2 million in entrepreneur Malcolm Bricklin's plan to sell Chinese vehicles in the United States.
Ciasulli, CEO of Planet Honda of Union, N.J., expects to open a dealership to sell vehicles assembled by China's Chery Automobile Co. starting in 2007. Bricklin's company, Visionary Vehicles LLC, is Chery's distributor in the United States.
"I'm signed, sealed, delivered," Ciasulli told Automotive News on Wednesday. "All the dealer agreements have been inked. I'm just waiting for cars."
Ciasulli's $2 million has been parked in an escrow account established by Visionary. When Bricklin signs 50 dealers, the money "can be utilized by the company," Ciasulli says.
Ciasulli says he will spend another $2 million to renovate a former indoor sports complex in northern New Jersey to be used as the Chery dealership. Renovations will begin early next year, he says. Included will be an 80-by-100-foot video screen showing footage of the Chinese-built vehicles.
A Visionary spokesman said other dealers have been signed, but he declined to say how many or to name them.
Ciasulli's Planet Honda sells about 6,000 new Hondas and used vehicles annually.
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