DETROIT (Reuters) -- A federal jury awarded $2 million in damages to automotive entrepreneur Malcolm Bricklin's firm V Cars LLC after a former employee of V Cars undercut a deal with China's Chery Automobile Co. to bring luxury vehicles to the United States.
The jury, in Detroit, said last week that KCA Engineering LLC, which was founded by former V Cars executive Dennis Gore while he was still employed by V Cars, committed fraud and other offenses.
Gore's attorney couldn't be reached for comment.
Bricklin brought Subaru to the United States in the 1960s and Yugo in the 1980s. In between, he created the gull-winged Bricklin SV-1.
He said Gore used proprietary information to help Chery launch a joint venture, Qoros Automobile Co., with investment firm Israel Corp.
Chery and V Cars, then known as Visionary Vehicles, entered into a joint venture in December 2004. The companies hoped to sell 150,000 Chinese-made vehicles in the United States by 2007, but the relationship soured, and Israel Corp. and Chery founded Qoros that year.
"This has been a long time coming," Bricklin said in an interview. "We found out what was really going on behind our back at the end of '06 and we have been trying to get justice ever since."
Gore secretly established KCA in December 2006 and V Cars was not aware of KCA's existence until after Gore left the company. Chery also went into business with KCA during the time it formed a relationship with Israel Corp.
Bricklin has filed a number of suits around the globe to recoup losses and collect damages from the failed deal.
The largest lawsuit, filed in federal court in Detroit in 2008 against Chery and other defendants, charges racketeering and seeks $26 million in initial investment by Visionary and at least $1.1 billion to account for the loss of projected earnings.
"This is a gratifying step in a continuing process that bodes well for our RICO suit against Chery," Bricklin said. "It doesn't make up for the betrayal of Dennis Gore. And it doesn't change the fact that consumers missed out on what would have been terrific cars. But it's nice to win; and we have won every decision so far."
Isabella Shaya of Automotive News contributed to this report.