Zotye USA, the American distributor for Chinese manufacturer Zotye Automobile, has chosen retailers in 100 markets as it plans to launch sales of its first vehicle in 2021.
Duke Hale, CEO for the U.S. distributor, said the filling of the first hundred spots is ahead of schedule, as it plans to have agreements signed in 250 markets before the launch. Eventually, the brand expects to have about 325 locations, the distributor said Tuesday.
"We're really pleased, though not surprised, that the milestone of signed appointments for 100 markets has been reached earlier than we first estimated," said Hale.
Zotye said it has agreements in the top 10 states for sales and that it has closed the recruitment process in cities such as Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Houston; and Las Vegas.
The first model to hit the U.S. will be a new version of the T600 compact crossover, the company has said. It will be followed by a second utility and car.
"Combine a dealer-friendly, transparent environment with an SUV that will have an extremely high level of safety equipment, great quality and durability, outstanding styling and a very attractive price, and it's no surprise we are beating our earlier plan," said Hale, who is also CEO of HAAH Automotive Holdings, which intends to distribute additional Chinese brands.
While several Chinese automakers have expressed interest in entering the U.S. in recent years, Zotye is the only major manufacturer continuing with its launch plans. Other brands, such as Guangzhou Automobile Group, have put their plans on hold amid a U.S.-China trade war and tit-for-tat tariffs between the world's two largest economies.
On Monday, President Donald Trump said a trade deal with China was "coming along very well," according to Reuters.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told reporters the administration still aimed to finalize a deal on the first phase in time for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings in Chile on Nov. 16-17, but he said there were still issues to resolve.