Imperium Motor of Canada aims to have its seven-store Canadian dealer network up and running as early as late this summer, even as it faces delayed shipments of its vehicles from China.
The electric vehicle start-up has already finalized franchise agreements with three Quebec dealers and is making progress narrowing down its list of candidates for the four others, company President Christian Dubois told Automotive News Canada.
“I’m down to two or three finalists in both Toronto and Vancouver,” he said, adding Imperium is also working on locations in Halifax and Victoria.
The seven-dealership network corelates with Imperium’s current vehicle reservations and expected sales for the next 18 months. Longer term, more stores in a longer list of cities is possible. “It’s a totally different picture” as the brand adds more models to its lineup and its volume increases, Dubois said.
Imperium is a subsidiary of Surrey, B.C.-based DSG Global. It plans to import EVs made by Chinese manufacturer Skyworth, initially selling an electric crossover it calls the SEV. The vehicle itself Dubois said, has a few remaining hurdles to clear with regulators before being approved to drive on Canadian roads.
But industry-wide supply chain issues, as well as manufacturing and shipping slowdowns in China due to the latest wave of COVID-19 have delayed Imperium vehicles from crossing the Pacific Ocean, stalling company efforts to build inventory for its Quebec dealers. Having “lived the last six months or so with delays after delays” Dubois said he hopes to have the vehicles in Canada for the Quebec dealerships to open their doors by mid-July.
Openings at locations elsewhere in the country will follow, though Dubois said they will likely be at temporary “boutique” stores in malls or other brand-building locations as the dealers work to set up permanent facilities. Imperium is targeting late this summer for initial openings at all four locations in other cities, with Toronto and Vancouver the top priorities.