A new Chinese automaker pulls the trigger on the U.S. market.
Zotye USA just confirmed its compact crossover, the T600, will enter the U.S. market by early 2021. The company, formed last year by parent entity HAAH Automotive Holdings, previewed its next-generation model at this year’s Shanghai Auto Show. It had previously announced its first U.S. model would arrive late next year. Now, though, that prediction has shifted slightly, adding it may be early 2021 when that car arrives.
Zotye USA senior vice president of sales Bob Pradzinski told Automotive News the T600 is coming first. He said, “that size and that pricing is really the heart of the SUV market.”
The company remained tight-lipped on specifics like dimensions and pricing, but this car will compete in a ferociously competitive segment against the likes of the Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue and Honda CR-V.
The Zotye T600 is expected to use a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. That powertrain is reportedly going through emissions testing, so exact horsepower and torque specs are not available yet. The company aimed this T600 squarely at American consumers. In China, Zotye has built their compact crossover since 2013.
Zotye CEO Duke Hale said of the T600, “The vehicle has excelling quality, outstanding safety features and will be very well equipped with a unique design that will make it popular with American buyers.” When it does reach U.S. shores, its main appeal may be its price. Zotye revealed plans to undercut its competition by as much as 20 percent. Though, we’ll have to wait and see whether that will actually happen.
Where can you buy one?
Earlier this year, Zotye USA announced an agreement with U.S. dealers to open 19 stores across the country. Pradzinski said there are currently 80 more in process. By the end of 2020, the company’s goal is to reach 325 sales points.
While it is working with franchise dealers, Zotye plans to sell its cars at a single price. It is also working on customer-friendly options like online sales. According to the AutoNews report, Pradzinski said, “We want [dealers] that realize that things have to change because that’s what customers are demanding.”
Of course, Zotye isn’t the only Chinese automaker eyeing the U.S. market. Guangzhou Automobile Group — also known as GAC — also plans an American launch in the coming years. It is in the process of recruiting dealers, but delayed its market launch until 2020.