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Chinese cars aren't coming to America via HAAH as firm files for bankruptcy

HAAH wanted to launch Vantas and T-GO as new brands for US dealers with help from China's Chery Automobile Company. That dream's now dead.

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This was the luxury SUV HAAH planned to sell under the new Vantas brand. It's just a rebadged Chery.

Chery/HAAH

The promise of Chinese cars landing on US soil is, yet again, broken. Automotive News reported Monday HAAH Automotive Holdings, a big player hoping to import Chinese cars to the US, has filed for bankruptcy after a seven-year-long journey. The publication spoke with HAAH CEO Duke Hale, who delivered the news. HAAH did not immediately return Roadshow's request for comment on the filing.

With the news, the US will not see the planned Vantas or T-GO brands HAAH wanted to launch in the US. The cars from both brands were to come from China's Chery Automobile Company. HAAH first aimed to simply import the cars through a Chery joint venture, then pivoted last year to say it would actually build the cars in the US. The company never announced a US production site, and this past April said it would once again simply import the cars from China.

For dealership franchises that forked over hundreds of thousands of dollars, they will not receive their money back. The non-refundable deposits to secure a Vantas or T-GO franchise ranged from $100,000 to several hundred thousand dollars, according to the report. As for why the operation fell through, Hale said rising US-China tensions, tariffs and poor consumer sentiment toward China during the coronavirus pandemic derailed plans. Investors that were first keen to pour money into HAAH for future return backed out. It's the second time HAAH's plans to bring Chinese cars to the US flunked after plans to bring Zotye cars to America fell through.