By Brian Bremner and Kathleen Kerwin
Audacious, gutsy, and maybe a little nutty -- how else to describe the push by New York auto entrepreneur Malcolm Bricklin and China's Chery Automobile Co. President Yin Tongyao to import and sell 250,000 mainland-made sport utilities, sedans, and sports coupes in the U.S. starting in 2007?
After all, Chery produced only 80,000 cars in all of 2004, has near-zero brand recognition outside China, and has been sued by General Motors' (GM) South Korean unit for allegedly ripping off the design for its best-selling QQ minicars in China -- a charge Chery denies. And while Bricklin was expected to announce his first dealer on May 26, U.S. auto execs aren't exactly losing sleep over the Chery threat -- not yet, anyway (See BW Online, 5/26/05, Malcolm Bricklin's "Bit of P.T. Barnum")