|Founded||January 14, 2005|
|Parent||Zotye Holding Group|
Zotye Auto (officially Zotye International Automobile Trading Co., Ltd.) is a Chinese automobile manufacturer based in Zhejiang, China. It is owned by Zotye Holding Group and was established in 2005.
Zotye was founded on 14 January 2005 by Zotye Holding Group. Previously, Zotye had contracts to only export automotive parts but increased its production to complete cars to take advantage of the expanding Chinese automotive market. In 2005, because of their reputation as a reliable partner, Zotye established contracts for sales subsidiaries in 10 different countries.
Since 2005, Zotye has expanded its automobile lineup and production numbers. The first model of the brand was a small SUV, the Zotye RX6400, later renamed to Zotye Nomad. The Zotye Nomad bears a remarkable resemblance to the Daihatsu Terios (see also Automotive industry in China).
Zotye's total revenues in 2006 were 2.88 billion RMB (about € 290 million).
In 2008, Zotye began exporting the Zotye Nomad, the export name for the 2008 which was launched in China in 2006 as a rebadged Daihatsu Terios. In 2010, Zotye released the Zotye 5008 which is a facelifted Zotye 2008 for the Chinese domestic market. It is still sold as the "Nomad" but also as the Zotye Hunter in various export markers, and also in India as the Premier Rio. Together with LUIS Motors GmbH, Zotye has developed an electric version of the Zotye 5008 for the European market, where it is sold as the "Luis 4U". Zoyte also supplies CKD kits of Nomad to Premier Limited in India to sell a version of this car as Premier Rio, powered by a Peugeot TUD5 diesel engine. Nomads are also sold in South Africa and Latin America. Following a new restyling, it is now marketed as the Zotye T200.
In 2009, Zotye released its second car model for the Chinese market, Zotye M300, (originally Multiplan) which is a licenced copy of Fiat Multipla.
In 2009, Zotye purchased Jiangnan Auto and acquired their only production model, a facelifted Suzuki Alto which was initially sold as the JN Auto. In late 2010, Zotye released a $2,830 Jiangnan Alto, the cheapest car in China and possibly in the world, and now calls the car Zotye TT.
At the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show, Zotye introduced their new Z100 model, a five-door hatchback city car, with a design very much inspired from the seventh generation Suzuki Alto. The model was initially revealed one year before as the New Jiangnan TT. It is one of the cheapest cars on the Chinese market.
Zotye launched the Z200 saloon and Z200HB hatchback in 2011, an updated version of the Fiat Palio and Siena which had been built in China by Nanjing Fiat since 2001 with little success, and Zotye purchased the tooling for these cars in 2008.
The Z300 four-door saloon was launched in 2012, the largest Zotye to date. It has a remarkable likeness to the design of the second generation (2007) Toyota Allion.
The T200 is the facelifted version of the Zotye 5008, adding also a new interior design. It was launched in April 2013, and is powered by a range of a 1.3 litre and a 1.5 litre petrol engines, with four valves per cylinder and variable valve timing, reportedly sourced from Mitsubishi, which are able to develop between 92 and 115 hp (69 and 86 kW) and between 113 and 134 N·m (83 and 99 lb·ft) of torque.
The T600 is a mid-size SUV launched in December 2013, powered by either a 1.5-litre turbo or a 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine. According to much of the media, it has a remarkable resemblance to the Audi Q5 and the Volkswagen Touareg.
The small Japanese style minivan was launched in 2011.
Zotye has bought production tooling and manufacturing rights for a number of phased out cars from big automobile manufacturers to produce cars for the Chinese market, mainly from Fiat. Future models proposed include:
- D Series (Fiat Doblo)
- L Series (Lancia Lybra in modernised notchback sedan or station wagon designs)
- S Series (Fiat Strada)
- T300 (compact SUV)
A range of four All-terrain vehicles is also proposed, called the Zotye ZT01.
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