February 14, 2005

Malcolm Bricklin entices dealers for new Chinese-made cars

Chicago, Illinois – Entrepreneur Malcolm Bricklin, whose past failed automotive attempts included importing the Yugo, and building an electric bicycle and a New Brunswick-built sports car bearing his name, is trying to entice 250 dealers to spend U.S.$15 million importing and selling Chinese-made cars.

Bricklin calls the dealerships “auto shows” and says he won’t locate them near existing dealership rows; they will be marked by giant electronic billboards measuring 10 by 30 metres.

Interviewed at the Chicago Auto Show, Bricklin says that more than 3,000 people have contacted him since he disclosed that his Visionary Vehicles LLC has signed on as the official importer of Chery Automobile Company of China. Visionary hasn’t actually signed on any dealers because Bricklin says the proper forms and registrations need to be filed in each state. He says he expects to have all dealers signed up by this summer.

Bricklin says that beginning in January 2007, Visionary Vehicles will introduce one new model every two months, for three years. He showed pictures, including a sport sedan priced around US$19,000 to compete with BMW 3 series; a turbocharged V8 sport sedan, under US$25,000, to compete with BMW 6 series; a 4-wheel-drive, V8 powered, 7-passenger sport wagon at US$19,000; and a Subaru-aimed SUV, with a V6 and price of US$14,000.

Earlier this week, Visionary Vehicles announced that it had hired vehicle development director Dennis Gore from Mitsubishi Motors North America to be its chief engineer. Bricklin said that one of Gore’s projects is an engineering centre in the Detroit area.

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