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Chinese auto brand Zotye signs US dealers in 100 markets

The Chinese cars are coming, and it appears US dealers are pretty receptive.

Zotye T600
This should be for sale in the US in about a year and a half, if all goes smoothly.

The US auto market is a tough nut to crack. If you're not an established player, a dealer distribution model is essential, as it's mighty difficult at times to skate around franchise laws. Ask Tesla.

China's Zotye, however, is sailing through the process with little to complain about, according to an Automotive News report on Tuesday. The company's CEO told the publication it's signed dealers in 100 US markets so far and it's far ahead of schedule in its launch plans. Ahead of its planned US debut, Zotye USA CEO, Duke Hale, said the company is hoping to find dealers in 250 markets. That number will eventually grow to 325.

Hale said he's "not surprised" Zotye scored dealers in 100 markets ahead of the corporate timeline and underscored the way the Chinese brand will do business in the US. The company will be completely "dealer-friendly" and "transparent" throughout, the CEO promised. Zotye's first vehicle, the T600 crossover SUV, will also feature a healthy dose of standard safety equipment and a "very attractive price," the executive added.

Should Zotye stick the landing, it will be the first Chinese auto brand to successfully enter the US market and begin selling cars. Numerous Chinese automakers have long promised they'd take a crack at US sales, but most recently, the US-China trade war has put a hold on those plans. Specifically, GAC cited the trade war as a barrier to its American launch. The Chinese automaker even set up displays at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit to promote its forthcoming cars.

As for Zotye T600, the small crossover will pack a 1.6-liter turbo-four engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. It also looks handsome and far less bland than the previous T600. That crossover looked like a generic Volkswagen of sorts.

Following the T600, Zotye plans for a midsize crossover and a sedan of some sort. Sales of the T600 should begin in late 2020 or sometime in 2021.

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