Vantas - a Brand Worth Knowing About?
It sounds like a European-Australian air carrier, but Vantas is also the name of a new Chinese automotive brand envisioned for the North American market.
The distributor behind the proposed brand should be familiar: California’s HAAH Automotive Holdings, which also plans to introduce the Chinese Zotye brand to the United States. This time, the introduction is an upscale one, with HAAH and China’s Chery Automobile signing a technical cooperation agreement to deliver a new brand, and a new SUV, to U.S. consumers.
In an announcement Monday, HAAH stated, “VANTAS vehicles will be on the Exeed platform, which has been developed with global resources and technologies targeted specifically at United States and Canadian consumers.”
Exeed is a subsidiary of Chery; the holding company claims an upmarket SUV will be the first vehicle it brings to North America.
“The specific model and other details have not been announced yet. Engineering development for homologation in the U.S. market has already begun,” HAAH stated, adding that the model will be “similar, but not identical, to” the Chinese-market Exeed TXL.
In October, HAAH and Zotye USA announced the filling of 100 U.S. dealer markets for that brand’s introduction, citing a 2021 on-sale date.
HAAH CEO Duke Hale told Automotive News at the time, “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,” adding, “Zotye USA happens to be the first brand we’ll represent.”
The Exceed TXL is a long-wheelbase, three-row variant of a midsize crossover that, in stock form, is slightly smaller than a Ford Edge. In the Chinese market, both versions draw power from a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine (197 hp, 214 lb-ft). An underwhelming prospect for American consumers, though parent Chery fields a lineup of engines up to 4.0 liters of displacement.
With two Chinese brands now in line for a U.S. entry via HAAH, the story’s conclusion remains cloaked in haze. No shortage of on-the-ground work must be performed before U.S.-conforming vehicles arrive; even then, there’s still the question of market reception. It remains to be seen whether American buyers are ready to take a Chinese-brand vehicle home, even if offered at a cut-rate price. At the back of many minds will be quality concerns, followed soon after by those relating to the brand’s longevity.
Place your bets.
[Image: Chery Automobile]
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