Chinese Ford partner Zotye gears up to sell crossover SUV in U.S.

November 15, 2018

For years, the Chinese have promised to break into the U.S., and a second automaker has revealed its plans to finally do just that. Zotye, which works with Ford to build cars in China, detailed plans on Tuesday to begin selling a crossover SUV in the U.S. in 2020.

The new company, called Zotye USA, is headquartered in Lake Forest, California, and will launch in the U.S. with the T600 crossover SUV. The company said engineering development and modifications for the U.S. are underway. Duke Hale, the chief executive officer of the holding company that will run Zotye here, said the process to begin sales in the U.S. has been a four-year undertaking with Zotye China. The new agreement will see the construction of a franchised dealership network and service centers. Hale said he's already discussed franchise agreements with several large dealerships in the U.S.

In China, Zotye offers the T600 crossover with a choice of 1.5- and 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 engines.

Zotye is also Ford's joint-venture partner in China. The two have plans to sell electric cars under a new brand name in the country.

ALSO SEE: Chinese automaker aims to sell Trumpchi car line in U.S.

Ahead of Zotye, China's GAC Motor plans to launch in the U.S. in 2019. The state-owned automaker said in 2017 it would be the first Chinese automaker to tackle the U.S. market with the mid-size GS8 SUV. It's unclear if those plans have changed amid the U.S.-China trade war.

Should all go according to plan, Zotye's first dealers will launch and begin sales of the T600 crossover in September 2020.

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