The man who introduced Subaru to the U.S. is at it again. This time car importer Malcolm Bricklin wants to bring cheap Chinese autos to North America. On Jan. 3, Bricklin's Visionary Vehicles announced it would be setting up a local distribution network for Chinese carmaker Chery. By 6 p.m. that day, Bricklin tells BusinessWeek Online, he had received inquiries from more than 2,000 dealers interested in carrying the five model he'll be offering -- from an SUV to a low-end sedan.
He reckons they should cost 30% less than any comparable vehicles currently on the market. To put that dealer response in perspective, consider this: In all of his years in the auto business, Bricklin, 65, says he has done business with 1,500 dealers. Yup, this Chinese car could be big.
"If you missed the Japanese invasion, you don't want to miss the Chinese invasion," says Bricklin, who plans to unveil his wares at 2006 auto shows and begin selling them in 2007. "I think we'll be bigger than Subaru in our first year."