"Most are open to the idea because it controls their risk initially," Hale told Automotive News. "Risk of capital, legal, people, recruitment, not understanding the market."
Hale, who expects to have the first Chinese vehicles in U.S. showrooms by late 2019 or early 2020, said several Chinese brands are interested.
Of the five or six that Haah has been working with, the company will pick two or three to start.
"The reason we formed ourselves in 2014 was we knew that the next wave was going to be Chinese cars," Hale said.
He said he had signed nondisclosure agreements that prohibit him from naming the brands he represents until the parties announce a deal. He said some of the companies had more sales than GAC in their home market and some had fewer.
Among automakers interested in a distribution deal, Hale said, is one that makes full electric vehicles and another that specializes in supercars.
In talks with potential retailers at the NADA Show, Hale said the startup was looking for dealers who have a small group of stores and are involved in the dealerships' daily operations.
The most likely dealers to partner with Haah, he said, are those selling Volkswagen, Kia, Hyundai, Volvo and Mitsubishi vehicles.
The Chinese brands could attract American consumers with offerings such as value-priced vehicles and EVs.
"Some of the Koreans and some of the Japanese have voided the market of value. They've continued to move up market," Hale said. "I'm going to suggest that the pricing is going to be in the neighborhood of 15 percent below the target competition."