Zotye Confirms T600 As Brand's First U.S. Market Model

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
zotye confirms t600 as brands first u s market model

At this point, it feels that every Chinese automaker has delivered an unrealistic promise of bringing fresh product into the United States within a couple of years. Last November, Zotye, Ford’s partner in Asia with a penchant for producing copycat models of European cars, announced plans to bring something over in 2020.

The firm now claims that the T600 crossover — which looks in no way like something from Volkswagen Group; certainly not an Audi Q5 or VW Touareg — will be first model in line for a boat trip to America.

Zotye, which emerged in 2005 building vehicles based on older, legally licensed European platforms, has moved up in the world. In 2007, the company saw an annual volume of just 28,577 in its home country. By 2016, that number climbed to 328,875. Its styling traditions, however, have remained largely unchanged — leading to legal headaches.

“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, the former Mazda and Volvo executive who now heads Zotye USA, said in a corporate 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.”

Zotye has partnered with HAAH Automotive Holdings to move metal in the United States and is already said to be ironing out engineering and homologation details as it attempts to establish a local dealer network.

According to Automotive News, Bob Pradzinski, senior vice president of sales for Zotye USA and HAAH, claims the T600 was selected because it’s the right size and price for “the heart of the SUV market.”

Other models are expected to follow, specifically a sedan and (probably) the T700 midsize crossover — which some say vaguely resembles the Range Rover Evoque.

Unfortunately, details about the U.S.-spec T600 are pretty slim. We can make a few assumptions: Considering Zotye’s claim to fame is delivering extremely affordable clones of European automobiles, the proposed crossover likely hopes to undercut its competition. In China, it starts near $14,000 and comes equipped with a variety of small engines, though the better-informed quadrants of the rumor mill see it coming into the U.S. with a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine mated to a six-speed automatic. Other regional content changes will have to be made if Zotye is serious about selling the T600 in America. Obviously, it’s in its best interest to keep the vehicle affordable, but existing tariffs might make that a challenge.

From Automotive News:

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.

That’s a tall order. Tall enough to cause you to wonder how seriously you should take Zotye’s claims. Our recommendation? Treat this with all the solemnity you gave the other Chinese brands that claimed they’ll also have a car on the U.S. market before 2022.

[Images: Volha-Hanna Kanashyts/Shutterstock]

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5 of 49 comments
  • AnalogMan AnalogMan on May 03, 2019

    Given the quality of most Chinese-made goods I've encountered (tools, hardware, metal fittings, auto parts, etc.), I. Will. NEVER. Buy. A. Chinese. Built. Car. Ever.

    • See 2 previous
    • RHD RHD on May 05, 2019

      Considering how many Buick Envisions have been bought in the US, it seems that some people are never told where those cheesy little toys are built. Anyone with any life experience would know to think very long and hard before buying a Chinese made car, and then to steer clear. Auto buying isn't done rationally, it's just a question of the salesman getting this ass into that seat, by hook or by crook. Yugos sold for a few years, and Hyundai Excels found a few buyers, as did Cadillac Cimarrons and incredible numbers of Chevettes. (Amazingly. there are still people willing to buy GM vehicles, although their market share has been on a downward trend for decades.) The T600 will be the Chinese version of the Vega - interesting to the curious at first, then soon dropped like a hot potato.

  • Tankinbeans Tankinbeans on May 03, 2019

    The only vehicles assembled in China are Volvos that I can't afford and a crossover I don't need. Curious to see where this goes, but not enough to plunk down money.

  • Dukeisduke I tried watching the live reveal last night, but after 15 minutes of jawing by MT+ personalities (and yes, I like Chris Jacobs and Alex Taylor), I turned it off.
  • Paul MBAs gonna MBA.
  • Zipper69 Clearly beyond German thought processes to simply keep A for IC engine and use "E" for all other so you can have a A6 and a E6.
  • Ianw33 It makes me laugh how many complaints i see here in the comments section. Leave it to "car enthusiasts" to be unhappy with the fact that a mainstream auto manufacturer produced a 1K HP car with a warranty that isn't $250K+. can't we just be happy that something crazy/fun exists like this before its gone, even if its not your cup of tea?
  • YellowDuck This is a completely vulgar vehicle. I understand that that is the point, but still...pretty douchey.