While Chinese automaker Geely has been seen at the Frankfurt Auto Show and the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Chery has been notably absent from the big international auto show scene. Maybe Chery is more cautious with its image; waiting until it has its cars exactly right for the international auto show circuit.
But the contrast in United States distribution plans could not be more dramatic. Malcolm Bricklin is head of Visionary Vehicles the North American distributor of Chery Automobiles. John Harmer is Chief Operating Officer of Geely-USA. Malcolm Bricklin is no John Harmer and John Harmer is no Malcolm Bricklin. Bricklin’s high profile promotion of Visionary Vehicles and Chery Automobiles is night and day different from the low key approach being taken by Geely.
Where Geely would like to dip its toe in a Puerto Rico test market, Bricklin would love to be national immediately.
Visionary Vehicles’ Initial Financing Has Finally Come Through
Bricklin’s original intent was to have the initial investments by dealers in acquiring VV territories cover a substantial investment in a line of mid-size products from Chery. This did not pan out for Bricklin and he went to investment bankers to acquire the cash. You wonder what pound of flesh was required to pull that off, but that’s a story for his book someday.
In February, Bricklin landed $225 million in financing to invest with Chery for product development. Using this capital, Chery will develop the first line of vehicles for Visionary to sell in the USA. This $225 million buys Visionary 40% of the platform which will include a sedan, a sport coupe and a sport utility vehicle. Bricklin describes these vehicles as Audis for the price of Hondas. He wants high style, high quality, reliable cars that can compete head-to-head with the best the Japanese have to offer.