MONTGOMERY, Alabama – A Chinese-American automaking venture moved one step closer to reality today when it signed an agreement here with Italdesign Giugiaro to design and engineer models for U.S. production.
Hybrid Kinetic Motors Corp., a Pasadena, California, venture spearheaded by the former CEO of China's Brilliance China Automotive, and the Italian engineering and design company were today holding a public contract-signing.
Italdesign said it will design eight vehicles for the venture, which plans to build 300,000 models annually in a new factory in Alabama.
Italdesign Chairman Giorgetto Giugiaro said the $500 million contract with HK Motors is by “far the biggest” order won by the design house in its 42-year history.
HK Motors announced last September plans for a green-vehicle manufacturing plant in Baldwin County, slated to open in 2013.
Giugiaro said his company will design vehicles for HK Motors that will include sedans, crossovers, SUVs, minivans and light commercial vehicles.
HK Motors chose Italdesign because founder and chairman Benjamin Yeung has already cooperated with the Italian consulting company when he was head of BMW AG's China partner Brilliance.
During 10 years as chairman and CEO of Brilliance Automotive Holdings from 1992 to 2002, Yeung subcontracted Italdesign to design and the engineer the Zhonghua sedan, which was the first modern car built by a domestic Chinese automaker when it was introduced in 2001.