I have been keeping a lazy eye on Malcolm Bricklin over the past few years – and have brought readers up to speed on his activities over the past two years on the pages of this blog.
I still, in the back of my mind, think that he could have a role to play in our future economic development.
Well, here’s an update from a recent analyst in this area:
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.
If this investment ignites aggressive product development NOW, it is still questionable whether or not Bricklin can launch in the USA as early as 2007 with these uniquely developed cars. He might be able to launch before the end of 2007 if he accepts other cars under development by Chery (as he has alluded to in several interviews), but not with the Chery Audi competitors.
Just remember that if Chery (China-based) wants to seriously attack the North American market it will need North American manufacturing (KIA is setting up now). So, look out 5-7 years, Chery may need a facility.
As I have said before, time for Bernard Lord to get out Hatfield’s Rolodex.