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China cars start at $7,000

The models, ranging from compact coupes to upscale sedans, will be sold at 250 dealers.

By Ed Garsten / The Detroit News

CHICAGO -- Malcolm Bricklin, the man who brought the notorious Yugo to America in the 1980s, will sell a line of Chinese-built cars beginning in 2007 with starting prices as low as $6,900, the entrepreneur said Wednesday.

The cars, which range from compact coupes to upscale sedans, will be sold through a network of 250 dealerships that will feature test tracks, customer lounges and a jumbo video screen that will double as a drive-in movie theater, Bricklin said

Each dealership, located far from rivals, will be 20,000 square feet. About 1,000 people already have inquired about buying a franchise, he said.

"If I can get enough people looking at my car and driving my car at these prices, people are going to be buying," Bricklin said in an interview at the Chicago Auto Show.

Under an exclusive deal, the cars will be built by Chinese automaker Chery Automobile Co. and distributed by Bricklin's new company, New York-based Visionary Vehicles LLC. Top-end models will sell for between $20,000 and $25,000.

Bricklin expects to introduce one new model every two months for three years -- for a total of 20 new vehicles. He has set a sales target of 250,000 units in 2007, and sales of 1 million a year within four years.

Production for each model will be limited to 50,000 vehicles and product line will include vehicles with four, six-, and eight-cylinder engines.

Bricklin, who has had moments of spectacular success and failure in the auto business over the years, insists the Chery-built cars will be free of the horrid quality problems that plagued the Yugo when it was introduced in the 1980. The Yugo, Bricklin said, was built in an old factory by untrained workers in a war-torn country.

"This is a company that has quality," Bricklin said of Chery, which sold slightly less than 90,000 vehicles last year. Chery is one of China's second-tier automakers, and the eighth-biggest in the country.

As a hedge, however, the Chinese cars will carry a warranty good for 100,000 miles or 10 years from purchase. Hyundai Motor Co. and other automakers have offered similar warranties in the U.S. market to overcome customer concerns about quality.

Value is the hook, however. Prototypes of the models have been designed by renowned Italian designer Bertone. The curvy, sleek vehicles are aimed at going head-to-head with every major automaker -- from Subaru to BMW -- at a fraction of the price.

For example, Bricklin said a Chery-made car aimed at BMW AG's 6-series would be priced at less than $20,000 and include a V-8 turbocharged engine.

The first models to be sold here will be unveiled next year at auto shows in Detroit, Chicago and New York.

Visionary Vehicles is receiving financial backing from New York investment firm Allen & Co.

Privately held Visionary Vehicles has committed to invest $200 million in the product program at Chery for the U.S. market.

Visionary Vehicles hasn't decided what brand will be used to market the Chery-built vehicles, but make no mistake, says Bricklin, sales will begin in 2007.

"We're committed," he said. "This is in fast gear."
One new model ever 2 months over 3 years....so they expect to have 20 models in their lineup in 3 years :eek. A v8 turbocharged powered car aimed at BMW's 6-series for under $20,000? :wow And they'll toss in a 10 year 100k mile warranty. Damn. And they think they'll have over 1million unit sales per year in 4 years which is tough to do (even Honda doesn't sell in those #'s in U.S). Is that even possible?? Crazy stuff.
 

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It probably is possible! New car prices are insane now a days so they should do good in our market...i always see people with Kia's
 

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it is now official, china will soon control the world :eek :evil
 

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that's how chinese business runs...and it will always be that same strategy...they use cheap labor to produce cheap products, then sell them at a cheap price to outnumber any competitors...hopefully no one will ever have to ride on a frame w/o 4 wheels or roll on 4 wheels w/o a frame on top...
 

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5.0 said:
One new model ever 2 months over 3 years....so they expect to have 20 models in their lineup in 3 years :eek. A v8 turbocharged powered car aimed at BMW's 6-series for under $20,000? :wow And they'll toss in a 10 year 100k mile warranty. Damn. And they think they'll have over 1million unit sales per year in 4 years which is tough to do (even Honda doesn't sell in those #'s in U.S). Is that even possible?? Crazy stuff.
damn isnt those numbers are too optimistic?
 

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jreese said:
It probably is possible! New car prices are insane now a days so they should do good in our market...i always see people with Kia's
true the number of korean owner keep increasing..
 

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that seems really far fetched.... the us government will most likely impose a tarrif to give american auto makers more fair competition.

the price for cars is outrageous these days though.
almost 20,000 for a 160hp civic hatch....
about 32,000 for a subaru family sedan with a turbo....
that impreza would be better off in my price range :p
 

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Moon Ill said:
i wonde how they will do in the crash test.

great point....that will be very interesting to watch. I can't see a 7000 dollar car doing to well....I know they use cheap labor to build these cars, but it still costs money for the parts and then to ship them over here to the states. They have to save money somewhere
 

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You'll end up getting what you pay for.
 

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hmmm im acutally looking forward in seeing these cars.

v8 turbo... hmmm.. i honestly don't care about the displacement... or anyting of that sort.. as long as it puts down good numbers on the track.. thats all im concerned about.
 

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boostaholic said:
hmmm im acutally looking forward in seeing these cars.

v8 turbo... hmmm.. i honestly don't care about the displacement... or anyting of that sort.. as long as it puts down good numbers on the track.. thats all im concerned about.
yep good numbers and good for the pocket too. good for customers but bad for competitors hahaha
 
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