November 13, 2018 / 7:20 PM / 9 months ago

Zotye, Ford's China partner, set to sell SUVs in U.S. in 2020

An employee pushes a car along a Zotye Automobile Co., Ltd assembly line in Jinhua, Zhejiang province, April 3, 2013. China imposing long-debated stringent fuel economy standards makes life tougher for cash-strapped small domestic brands that are already struggling amid a slowdown of the world's biggest auto market. Picture taken April 3, 2013. REUTERS/Lang Lang (CHINA - Tags: TRANSPORT BUSINESS)

(Reuters) - Zotye Automobile (000980.SZ), a Ford Motor Co (F.N) partner in China, said on Tuesday it planned to begin selling SUVs in the United States in 2020.

Ford is not involved in those plans by the Chinese automaker, spokesmen for the companies said.

Ford had tapped Zotye to provide lower-priced electric vehicles to some of its dealers in China.

“There is no current plan for Zotye USA to sell EVs in the U.S. market,” Zotye spokesman Chris Hosford said in an email on Tuesday.

Zotye is setting up a U.S. sales and distribution arm in Lake Forest, California, and plans to sell vehicles in the United States through franchised dealers.

Zotye USA is owned by HAAH Automotive Holdings, headed by President and Chief Executive Duke Hale, a longtime executive at several automotive import operations.

Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Richard Chang

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