Mel Rapton Honda dealership in Sacramento, CA, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Chinese SUV and light-truck manufacturer Hebei Zhongxing Automobile Mfg. Co. for the import of Chinese-made vehicles to the U.S.
“It is just an initial stage,” says Curtis Rapton, the dealership's operations manager and son of owner Mel Rapton. The two earlier visited the Zhongxing plant.
Zhongxing is a major vehicle manufacturer in China. The company already exports to Asia and Africa, and in Europe to Russia and the Ukraine.
The Raptons say they are looking to import low-priced SUVs and light trucks into the U.S., with a goal of bringing a pickup priced at $10,000 to the market.
In addition to Zhongxing, the dealership is in negotiations with other Chinese vehicle makers. The Raptons say they plan to import an entry-level sedan, as well.
Curtis Rapton says he expects to sign an initial agreement with a second Chinese vehicle maker, whom he declines to name.