It looks like Chery vehicles will be heading to the home of Chevy. HAAH Automotive Holdings (don’t laugh), which was previously in the news for planning to introduce China’s Zotye vehicles in the US (yes, the brand infamous for clones; that plan is still on track for 2021), says it has reached a North American distribution deal with another Chinese carmaker, Chery.

A statement by HAAH said that a US-assembled premium SUV from Chery will be sold and serviced under the brand name Vantas as soon as late 2021. According to Autonews, quoting HAAH spokesman Chris Hosford via email, US production will start with semi-knockdown kits from China, before eventually moving to full manufacturing.

HAAH is scouting a couple of states including Michigan (that’s where Detroit is) for a plant, which would employ about 1,000 to 1,500 workers once fully operational, HAAH CEO Duke Hale told a Detroit radio station. The company plans to start recruiting dealers at the NADA Show in Las Vegas this week.

HAAH said that the homologation process for the Chery has begun, and from the supplied images, it appears that the model in question is based on the Exeed TX/TXL, which is a far cry from the QQ and Tiggo that some Malaysians might remember. In China, the Exeed SUV is powered by a 1.6 litre turbo engine with 197 PS and 290 Nm, mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and AWD.

The company is signing up franchisees to handle Vantas sales, service and deliveries, supported by a cloud-based digital sales platform. “Every sale will go to a dealer, it just will depend on what point it is that the customer wants that involvement,” Hosford said.

Will this work out? Chinese brands has been eyeing the US market for some time now. Autonews points out that within a decade of its 1997 founding, Chery went public with plans to sell in the US, but it never materialised. Recently, Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC) targeted a 2019 US brand debut, but the US-China trade war and tariff concerns came in its way. And if they do make it stateside, will people buy the cars?