CHICAGO – The first model built by Chinese auto maker Automobile Co. for the U.S. market will be an Audi A6 competitor that costs about $20,000, Malcolm Bricklin, chairman and CEO of Visionary Vehicles LLC, says at the Chicago Auto Show here.
Visionary, which promises to import into the U.S. 250,000 passenger vehicles made in China bystarting in 2007, likely will bring a 4-door mid-luxury sedan in the Audi A6 vein – but selling for around $20,000, about half the price of the A6.
Another model on tap is a Subaru Forester-type all-wheel-drive vehicle with a V-6 and selling for about $15,000. Other models expected for ’07 import include an entry-level compact sedan, a cross/utility vehicle and an SUV.
Visionary Vehicles CEO Malcolm Bricklin and Cherycrossover vehicle.
Bricklin says his business plan envisions importing 1 million Chery-built vehicles by 2010. The models will not be sold under the Chery brand name however, with a new moniker yet to be decided. (See related story: Bricklin: Chinese Cars Good for American Workers; Hyundai a Model)
It is an ambitious scheme and the well-traveled entrepreneurial Bricklin knows it.
But the man who gave Subaru and Yugo their U.S. starts says the fundamental assumptions behind his ambitious new venture are plausible because the Chinese auto maker pioneering the vehicles “read the book” on how to make high-quality, affordable cars. That book, he says, was written byMotor Corp.
The first Visionary Vehicles imports all will have styling by Carrozzeria Bertone SpA, Bricklin says. Chery has 14 models in various stages of development, he adds, and all were penned either by Bertone or rival Italian stylist Pininfarina SpA.
Powertrains will be produced by Chery at an all-new facility in Wuhu, China, were the company’s 10 million-sq.-ft. (929,000-sq.-m) assembly plant is located.
Bricklin says a range of 13 engines, ranging from a 4-cyl. to a V-8 to a turbodiesel, were designed by Germany’s AVL List GmbH.
The Chery factory “wants to be No.1 in the world,” Bricklin says. “The Chinese are coming, and I’m bringing them here.”