Street-Legal Chinese Hatchback Now on Sale in U.S.
NEW YORK — Miles Automotive has begun distributing a small, battery-powered Chinese hatchback to a few U.S. dealerships in one of the first salvos from this emerging market.
The Miles ZX40, priced from just under $15,000, is modest enough. The car has a top speed of only 25 mph and a range of 40 miles. But the distributor promises bigger and better things coming in 2007, including a new model — the XS200 — that will have a range of 200 miles, a top speed of 80 mph and a price tag of around $28,500.
The ZX40 started out life years ago as a Japanese minicompact, the Daihatsu Move. It migrated to China, where it is assembled in Tianjin by a subsidiary of auto giant FAW and rebadged as the Xinfu, or Happy Messenger. The electric version is manufactured by another Tianjin-based company, Qingyuan.
Miles Automotive describes the vehicle as "street legal," but the Chinese manufacturer says the target customers are townships, military bases, ports and research institutions.
What this means to you:
The ZX40 is not to be confused with ZX Auto, another would-be U.S. distributor of Chinese vehicles made by Zhongxing.