Chinese automaker Zotye, maybe best known around here for its cheap Porsche Macan copy, promised last year to break into the U.S. market. It looks like it’s making good on that promise, as the company confirmed Thursday it would kick things off with the Zotye T600, a crossover. Because of course.
Late last year, companies Zotye Automobile and HAAH Automotive Holdings partnered to figure out the first steps of breaching the tightly packed American car market. The two companies formed Zotye USA and promised to get an unspecified SUV on sale by 2020.
Now we know that the T600 will be available in late 2020, possibly early 2021, according to Automotive News, with a midsize crossover and sedan to follow. As for a dealership network, Zotye USA has stated that there are 19 locations confirmed with 80 more in the works.
The T600 comes with an inline four-cylinder, 1.6-liter turbocharged engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. The car came out in China in 2013, but it’s not clear yet what tweaks exactly it will be getting before it hits U.S. dealers. The base model apparently started at around $12,000 in China, so perhaps the company is planning to undercut everybody else here in America.
Duke Hale, CEO of Zotye USA and HAAH told AutoNews 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.” Oh, good.
Zotye is eyeing American car buyers during a downturn in the automotive market at home, but the company might not be able to find much help here, as U.S. auto companies are also finding it tough to move units in both the United States and China. But that doesn’t seem to matter much, as Zoyte isn’t the only Chinese manufacture looking at a crowded marketplace and still trying to jump in.
Geely is growing bigger and bigger and already has a foot in the door with its stakes in Volvo and Lotus. GAC has been showing its models at America auto shows a few years now and hopes to start sale this year, and another Chinese company called Kaiyun is taking steps to bring a novel and cheap electric pickup truck stateside.
It’s hard to imagine Americans really need yet another practical crossover to pick from, but maybe Zotye will bring some innovation or efficiency to the space.