- The Entrepreneur, a documentary about automotive visionary Malcolm Bricklin, was released on Tuesday on iTunes and Cable VOD.
- The film depicts Bricklin's attempts to be the first to import Chinese-made production vehicles into the U.S.
- The documentary is the work of Bricklin's son, Jonathan Bricklin, who spent five years on the project.
NEW YORK — Released today on iTunes and Cable VOD is The Entrepreneur, a documentary film about automotive visionary Malcolm Bricklin, best known for his 1970s-era sports car, the Bricklin SV-1.
"It's a highly entertaining, behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to make a deal in China and at the clash of cultures that resulted when a brash, determined, somewhat nutty entrepreneur sets his sights on bringing the first line of Chinese cars to the U.S.," according to a statement by Bricklin's publicist.
Bricklin is known for bringing Subaru to the U.S. in the 1960s and Yugo in the 1980s. But enthusiasts remember him best for his gullwinged Bricklin SV-1.
In the documentary, also available on SnagFilms and Hulu, filmmaker Jonathan Bricklin follows his father's efforts to be the first to import Chinese-made production cars into the U.S. Then 65, an age when many people are making plans for retirement, the elder Bricklin was embarking on a new international business adventure.
The movie depicts Bricklin's attempts to strike a deal with the Chery Automobile Co., a Chinese manufacturer, to import some of its cars and crossover SUVs into the U.S. under the banner of his newly formed Visionary Vehicles.
The first half of the film covers Bricklin's investigation into prospective cars and companies, meetings with investors and negotiations with Chinese executives. His interactions with those executives fly in the face of the conventional wisdom about doing business in Asia, and those scenes alone make it worth a 91-minute time investment.
The second half deals with the problems that began cropping up and Bricklin's attempts to get past them. The suspense builds, with plenty of dramatic ups and downs, but in the end (spoiler alert) the deal fell through.
Bricklin has filed several lawsuits around the globe to recover losses and collect damages from the failed deal. A federal jury awarded $2 million in damages to Bricklin's firm V Cars LLC last week after a former employee of V Cars undercut a deal with Chery to bring luxury cars to the U.S.
What is made clear in the film is that Bricklin has never measured success only in dollars. To him the size of the idea is more important than the amount of income it generates.
Edmunds says: It took Jonathan Bricklin more than five years to go through 1,500 hours of footage and assemble this documentary. That he was able to portray his father with stark honesty while still capturing his optimism and determination is testament to both of them.