By on May 6, 2019

Following last week’s announcement that the T600 will serve as the tip of Zotye’s spear, probing into North America, parent company HAAH Automotive Holdings dropped hints that the brand might be one of several Chinese nameplates offered in the United States.

Zotye USA emerged in 2018, after HAAH signed a distributorship agreement with Zotye Automobile International Co. with the clear intent to get its vehicles to market in the Western world. But HAAH CEO Duke Hale claims his company has always had loftier ambitions. 

“HAAH Automotive Holdings is a holding company really designed to handle shared services, so IT, legal, finance, HR, parts distribution, those kind of things are housed in HAAH Holdings. That was always the vision,” Hale told Automotive News in a recent interview. “Zotye USA happens to be the first brand we’ll represent.”

There’s nothing official announced, though Hale claims HAAH could manage “two or three brands,” with each receiving its own team of representatives and a distinct dealer network to ensure “no consolidation or coordination between brands.”

Meanwhile, Zotye plans to keep hunting for more places willing to stock its product using no-haggle tactics. Hale said he believes the company will have 250 to 260 open sales points in the U.S. by the time the T600 goes on sale in late 2020.

From Automotive News:

Zotye has continued to recruit dealers since it announced in January at the National Automobile Dealers Association Show in San Francisco that it had signed agreements with 10 dealers for 19 new-vehicle stores.

Today, the company has agreements with 22 dealers for 60 sales points and has another 20 or so points in process, ahead of plan, said Bob Pradzinski, senior vice president of sales for Zotye USA and HAAH.

Hale’s message for America? “Stay tuned” for an announcement regarding a second brand operating under HAAH’s wing. He declined to elaborate further.

[Image: Volha-Hanna Kanashyts/Shutterstock]

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49 Comments on “China’s Zotye Seeks More U.S. Dealers, Parent Company Readies More Brands for North America...”


  • avatar
    indi500fan

    They need to hire Gotye as their celebrity spokesperson….

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Anyone in America who buys this should be considered enemy of America and executed on spot. The car should be burned.

    • 0 avatar

      Calm down man. What you are proposing is a Russian approach to solving problem. American way is the free competition and considering the prices manufacturers are asking for mainstream cars these days Americans are ready to accept Chinese cars. Same thing happened with Japanese cars which where POS initially and Korean cars which were (and still are) POS as well.

      So China – Welcome to America – we love you cars!

      • 0 avatar
        ravenuer

        You think Hyundais and Kias are POSs? Really?

      • 0 avatar
        Steve Biro

        Korean cars are no longer POS. You’re operating with outdated information. But also know this: It took the Koreans less time than the Japanese to become truly competitive in this market. And it will take the Chinese less time than it took the Koreans. Bank on it.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          That’s not really true. Korea still isn’t where the Japanese were after fifteen years in the US market, and they’ve been here thirty four years. Chinese goods have been here longer than Korean goods without acquiring a reputation for quality, so whatever it is that motivated your statement, that motivation had absolutely nothing to do with reality.

          • 0 avatar
            Steve Biro

            That’s fine. I’m wrong; you’re right. Let’s talk again in a decade or so.

          • 0 avatar
            dukeisduke

            After some personal experience with Kias (I’ve owned two first-gen Fortes), I tend to agree. I really want to like the cars, but all the problems with engine failures (now the problem is starting to creep into first-gen Fortes with the Theta MPI engines – read the posts at ForteForums.com) are making me avoid them for awhile.

        • 0 avatar
          Synchromesh

          I disagree about Korean cars. Granted I haven’t driven one for a while but I got to sit a couple of Velosters and a Genesis. Sorry, none of them were my cup of tea. They just can’t hold a candle to either Honda or Subaru in my book. Cheap, flimsy crap Koreans were all over. Genesis was a little fancier but I could immediately tell they’re trying real hard to imitate the Germans. It wasn’t working though.

          I won’t be buying Korean and I certainly will not touch anything Chinese unless they can suddenly match Japanese or Europeans in quality.

          • 0 avatar
            don1967

            Funny how your Korean cars were cheap and flimsy compared to Honda, while my Korean cars felt more expensive and robust than the Hondas I owned previously.

            It’s almost like personal anecdotes don’t prove anything.

          • 0 avatar
            CKNSLS Sierra SLT

            Synchromesh-
            At the risk of sounding redundant-I bought a new 2017 Santa Fe XL (AWD) Limited a year and a half ago. Paid 30 Large. Wife and I could have bought Honda, Toyota, etc. The savings buying the Santa Fe was $5,000.00-again $5,000.00. The vehicle has been on several road trips and has performed flawlessly. The 3.3 really moves the vehicle along-effortlessly.
            Build/quality-are there use of hard plastics where there should be SOFT plastics-YES. But finding the (for lack of a better term-cost cutting areas) I still couldn’t see where the savings over the popular Japanese brands couldn’t be justified.
            Another poster is also correct-the Chinese learning curve will be shorter than what the Koreans went through. Americans are begging for affordable transportation. So-the question is would they choose a used “Popular model car” for the same price (or even possibly more) than a NEW CHINESE one?

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            “the Chinese learning curve will be shorter than what the Koreans went through.”

            But I don’t believe the quality of the Chinese will be as good as that of the South Koreans.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        Not welcome. Duck China. Its coming

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Slavuta,
    I hope your kidding right? If not I want to see your all American car and your all American home filled with only good old made in the USA 100% stuff. If folks want to buy it they will buy it, much like other automakers they will sell cheap at first and hopefully improve as the years go by, it is a well played out playbook.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      ” If folks want to buy it they will buy it,”
      If they buy it, they are traitors. If they are traitors, they…

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        “If they buy it, they are traitors. If they are traitors, they…”

        No they’re not.

        They weren’t traitors when they started buying the first VW Bugs, or the first Japanese-made cars.

        And who can forget the Daihatsu Charade? Now we have the Fiat 500!

        So why not Chinese cars? Volvo is Chinese. JLR is Indian. Fiatsler is Dutch.

        People buy them.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          Because Italy works on its designs and performance. Because Germany works on its efficiency, performance and perfection. China works on stealing our intellectual property, slapping something badly together and selling back to us. They lowering our acceptance to quality and eventually will complete their 100-year total domination plan. Remember, they are not free people. They all spies and commies.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Americans should decide IF they want to buy these Chinese-made products. Some people cannot afford to elevate themselves out of their Wal-Mart lifestyle.

            Ditto with Chinese-made food products. I’ll never buy them. Remember the Chinese-made melamine-laced dog and cat food that killed over 6000 American pets?

            No doubt the same shenanigans and cutting of corners is in the Chinese-made food products for humans meant for exports, and I’m not having any of it. Not even my favorite mandarin oranges if they come out of China.

            But cars are different.

            Let the buyers decide. If the Chinese-made cars are no good, people will shun them, like people shun EVs, Hybrids and PHEVs in America.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          China steals and manipulates. I want genuine, quality Chinese product. Product I can get only from China.
          As you understand, my dog would never get anything from China. Unless its says on the bag “Made In USA”, my dog is not getting it. But if Chinese managed to kill my dog, I don’t know what I would do. Something really bad.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I think that they need to come up with a simpler more memorable brand name than Zotye. That would be the first thing that needs to be done before this vehicle is even marketed. If the price is right and it is reliable it will sell. It might be worth buying the rights to a dead brand’s name to get a name that is more memorable.

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      HAAH could buy the rights to Studebaker. That sounds convincingly American, doesn’t it? And DeSoto, for the slightly upscale version of their reprocessed crusher ore.
      It looks like HAAH wants to become the new GEO, combined with what Sears tried at one time.
      Watching from the sidelines should be entertaining on this one.

      And, will HAAH export the GONOW brand? Their marketing slogan could be “YuGoNow!”

      • 0 avatar

        The problem with Yugo was that it was not made by Asians. If it was made by Asians it would be patiently improved over time and people who made them learned how to make cars.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          No, the problem with Yugo was that it was an obsolete Fiat design with minimal changes to meet import laws, and was made by an underfunded company that couldn’t afford to come up with a better design or build a dealer and parts network. Building the dealer/parts network on the cheap looks like what Zotye is doing, and that’s likely a fatal error.

          • 0 avatar
            dukeisduke

            And imported by a huckster (Malcolm Bricklin), who also imported the Subaru 360, and gave us the Bricklin SV-1, the SV standing for “Safety Vehicle” (I kid you not).

      • 0 avatar
        Steve Biro

        How about “Plymouth?”

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      Jeff S, you are so right. If they use that name they will be making the same blunder that Daewoo did. I also thing the same thing about Ssangyong. What an awful name for a car.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    Zotye, I don’t know why, somehow reminds me of goiter.

    Even the Chinese car maker GYON has a reason for its name – Grow Your Own Niche.

    But Zotye?

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I don’t see how they think they can pull this off successfully. It’s a crowded market in an industry down cycle and they have no competitive advantage. Not in cost, and certainly not in image or quality.

    There’s good reasons why no other Chinese brands have done it yet.

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      I agree. A Chinese car that looks like a VW and Ford mated being sold at Hyundai prices wont cut it. Maybe if it were cheap enough, but with tariffs how is that possible? Plus people will buy $5 Chinese junk, and even $1,000 iPhones, but will they drop $25K on an unproven Chinese brand CUV? I think not enough of them will.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Tariffs aside, the Chinese don’t even have a labor cost advantage over Mexico. Of course Mexico has more favorable trade agreements as well.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      I am watching from the sidelines with interest on this one. Chinese cars are of no concern for me, as where my car is assembled matters to me along with % of domestic content. That is just me, I know plenty on here will only buy made in Japan autos, to each their own.

      If a certain fella gets his way this week, these cars a non-starter before they ever build a dealership. A 25% tariff on imported goods certainly destroys any pricing advantage these may have. At NADA this year, the booth next to the one I was working in was GAC Motor and I took some time to peruse their stuff. It was not hard to see the company purchased a couple of Lexus SUV’s and a Pacifica minivan tore them down did some engineering to come up with some manufacturing dyes to build components and off they go. What I found most interesting when talking to the floor rep was the pricing. Their really was not a substantial price difference between what they had and say a loaded Hyundai of equal size.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Sure they can pull this off – IF the product’s good. Yes, the market’s crowded, but when has it not been crowded?

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      I do wish them a tremendous amount of luck, but this one is destined to fail. Dealerships who know the market would never sign on with a Chinese car manufacturer and take on the financial liability of storing, selling, and servicing their stock. There are too many unknowns and the quality isn’t there.

      The US car market is already crowded, and established brands with huge swaths of dealer networks are struggling to sell new cars. Americans demand quality vehicles and China has yet to provide quality product. If a buyer really wanted a China made car, they could get a Buick Envision or a Volvo. Neither of them are selling well at all – Buick dealers can barely move any Envisions off the lot. GM has to force their dealer network to take Envision inventory.

      • 0 avatar
        CKNSLS Sierra SLT

        SSJeep-
        Save for a few on here-people could care less where cars are made. The model you mentioned-is a poor seller for a number of reasons. And the country where it’s made doesn’t rate very high on the list of those reasons.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      That is the big thing: the quality! Anecdotally, admittedly, it’s well-known that Chinese vehicles which are entirely “home-grown,” i.e., not produced in a JV agreement with another manufacturer are deathtraps in even minor collisions, and can’t hold a candle to a modern GM for durability.

      I’m sure any of those vehicles sold here will meet the bare minimum for safety, like NHTSA rules, but try anything harder like IIHS tests, and forget it! Let’s not even think about durability or build quality, much less resale!

  • avatar
    CaddyDaddy

    The Chinese come from a culture of insulation where knowledge of the outside world is kept under wraps as a matter of public policy. This leads to unfounded arrogance and belief that people will buy a car that sounds like a Zygote that will win the hearts of consumers, “ because it’s cheap”.

    Sure the Chinese can make good stuff, but that is not the norm. Most of their products that are world class are built by foreign companies or are stolen knockoffs from 1st world design. Usually built into the Chinese product is the philosophy of cutting corners as the ability to cheat and get one over on your opponent / customer is seen as a mark of good business and pride.

    The Japanese have a culture of quality over quick profits. It’s a different mind set.

    When I can walk into a 1st tier Chinese city and drink the water out of the tap with out worry, Then maybe they have arrived. Contemplate that, we were there 120 years ago.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      From the anecdotal stuff I have heard from people I know, your premise does not seem to be wrong. I can’t speak to it as I have never been there and honestly have zero desire. I have had many a conversation with people who have had Chinese ‘delegates’ of some sort come to their facility and each one had to have a handler as they would use their phones or cameras and photograph anything and everything whether they were permitted to or not.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “Usually built into the Chinese product is the philosophy of cutting corners as the ability to cheat and get one over on your opponent / customer is seen as a mark of good business and pride.”

      Well, if that’s the case, they learned at the hands of the masters: American corporations.

      I don’t pretend to be all that knowledgeable about Chinese culture, but in the end, their success or failure here will be based on how their products go over with American consumers. The question of whether Chinese automakers start selling here or not answers itself; there’s too much money in this market for them not to want a piece of it.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Buy stock in companies that make rollback beds for tow trucks.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    Serious question: if a Chinese car company can manage to obtain a foothold in the USA, and later deem it prudent to start building here, what would the prevailing opinion be?

    Are KIAs built in Georgia received better than those built in Korea? Most Japanese brands build their vehicles, for US domestic consumption, in the US already.

    I know this is steeped in hypotheticals, but I have to wonder.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      See I get blasted every time I say this but I’m going to say it again:

      All things being equal, I prefer a vehicle assembled in the USA over a vehicle assembled somewhere else. Brand doesn’t matter to me. If I was choosing between a Mexico assembled Chevy over a US assembled Ford – I’m taking the Ford.

      Between a Southern Kia and a Canada assembled sedan.

      • 0 avatar
        Hydromatic

        To be fair, I’d rather have a vehicle assembled in Japan. At least then the overall quality is guaranteed to be impeccable.

        • 0 avatar
          ToolGuy

          Hydromatic,

          Generally yes. But assembly quality varies between different Japan OEM’s, and even between individual assembly plants in Japan belonging to the same OEM. The most rock-solid well-screwed-together vehicle I ever had came from one certain vehicle assembly plant in Japan – never had another one that good.

  • avatar
    don1967

    Not to alarm anyone, but *damn* those are tight panel gaps.

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    theyre gonna be coming with cheapness. cant see them asking more than $11k OTD for a loaded model. hopefully theyve got a fun mini cheap jeep convertible.

  • avatar
    TimK

    All this chatter for something that will never happen — a Chinese nameplate selling volume in the U.S. auto market. How many times will this story be written? I’ve seen dozens of variations over the past 15 years.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    Another manufacturer at the low end of the US market? That Great Wall pickup never arrived. Daewoo and Yugo and Daihatsu didn’t last, and Hyundai and Kia only survived by jumping from third-world to first-world quality in five years. I don’t see it happening.


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