But any who sign on also must recognize that Zotye USA plans to go to market in a different fashion than the typical franchised dealership, with regard to pricing and customers.
"We want dealers that buy into this fact that we're in the Amazon age and that, you know what, dealerships need to change," Pradzinski told Automotive News. "They're really going to have to buy into this process. People don't want the hassle anymore."
Pradzinski doesn't want customers in Zotye stores to worry about haggling and not knowing whether they got the best price. He wants to create an experience customers will love instead of them facing the typical bombardment by salespeople the minute they step onto a lot.
"That's what has to be changed," he said. "We have to make it a very customer-friendly experience."
Dealers will get only one vehicle to sell at first, a crossover that HAAH and Zotye officials did not disclose but was identified last week on HAAH's website as the T600.
Zotye Automobile International Co., with global sales of 317,000 vehicles last year and aspirations to become internationally competitive, said that, after launching the crossover in the U.S., it plans to sell sedans and electric vehicles here by partnering with HAAH.
Dealers will have realistic facility requirements, a longtime hot-button issue between dealers and automakers. The approach will be simple and minimalistic, Pradzinski said. Showrooms will include red and silver colors, "plain and basic, but very, very functional and not super expensive." Signage will be scaled back from pricey pole-and-monument signs some automakers require, he said.
Dealers could share the Zotye showroom with another brand or convert a used-car building to use. A Zotye dealer may be able to have a satellite store in a shopping mall or warehouse district that isn't as expensive as an auto mall row, he said. After all, today's shoppers are smart and know the cost of a fancy facility is built into the price of the product, Pradzinski said.
"We won't require Taj Mahals that are costing dealers millions," he said. "I think that's the fastest way to build a brand."