Zotye USA confirmed a compact crossover, the T600, will be its entry into the U.S.
The T600, a version of which was shown in April at the Shanghai auto show, is scheduled to arrive in U.S. showrooms by the end of 2020 or in the first quarter of 2021, Zotye officials said Thursday.
Zotye USA, created last fall when parent company HAAH Automotive Holdings signed a distributorship agreement with Chinese automaker Zotye Automobile International Co., previously said its first vehicle would arrive by the end of 2020.
Bob Pradzinski, senior vice president of sales for Zotye USA and HAAH Automotive Holdings, said the T600 was selected as the first vehicle because "that size and that pricing is really the heart of the SUV market."
Pricing has not been announced for the T600.
A midsize crossover and sedan are slated to follow the T600, though Zotye did not provide timing or details for those vehicles. But the HAAH Automotive website says the T700 next-generation model will be coming in the first quarter of 2022.
The T600 for the U.S. is expected to have an inline four-cylinder, 1.6-liter turbocharged engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. No other vehicle specs are being released as required certification for the T600 is proceeding, Zotye said.
"This T600 is a perfect vehicle for the U.S. market and I'm very excited to announce it will be the first Zotye product to go on sale here," Duke Hale, CEO of Zotye USA and HAAH Automotive Holdings in Lake Forest, Calif., said in a statement. "The vehicle has excellent quality, outstanding safety features and will be very well equipped with a unique design that will make it popular with American buyers."
Hale said a full-size crossover and sedans also could follow the midsize crossover.
Zotye isn't the only Chinese automaker with plans to enter the U.S. Guangzhou Automobile Group is recruiting dealers, but its planned U.S. launch may be delayed until the first half of 2020, partly because of the threat of a U.S. trade war with China. But trade talks have made progress in recent weeks, and the Trump administration has been optimistic that a deal can be reached.
During the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in January in San Francisco, Zotye announced it had signed agreements with dealers for 19 new-vehicle stores. Pradzinski said it has dealers signed up or in process for more than 80 sales points, ahead of its plan. It expects to have about 300 stores in the top 100 U.S. markets when the T600 goes on sale and eventually about 325 locations.
Zotye plans to offer its vehicles at one price and in a customer-friendly format that will include online sales.
"We want [dealers] that realize that things have to change because that's what customers are demanding," Pradzinski said.