Top 10: Chinese "copy and paste" cars
Following the news that a Chinese car manufacturer has produced a three-dimensional photocopy of the Range Rover Evoque, and there’s nothing Jaguar Land Rover can do about it, it's a good time to take a look at what else is inspiring modern Chinese car design.
All of the following Chinese cars should look familiar - but only some of them with legitimate cause. Below each Chinese car is a link to our review of the car it was inspired by. See if you can guess what each is before clicking the link...
*Thanks to www.markeaandrews.com for images
There's no need to guess this one. The new king of famous Chinese cut and paste car design, the Landwind X7 got Jaguar Land Rover executives, and Twitter, in a right old tizzy when it appeared at the Guangzhou motor show in 2014. Landwind put it on display again at the 2015 Shanghai show, and will sell it for about a third of the price of the Evoque proper in China – a car that JLR builds in the country in a brand new factory, built to avoid import taxes and therefore keep the Evoque's price down.
Still, driving the Landwind is like walking around in a pair of pants with 'Kelvin Klean' written on them, so JLR should be ok.
The Chinese state-owned Beijing Automotive Group (BAIC) has partnerships left, right and centre, including with Hyundai and Daimler, and it’s the latter that allows the company to make the A115 based on a popular premium MPV. Not that exciting, but the group sells millions of cars in China every year under various brands.
BAIC had the prudence to vacuum up a load of Saab patents on the cheap while the Swedish company was going bust, and its design department is now headed up by none other than Leonardo Fioravanti, of Ferrari Dino, Daytona and F40 design fame. Leo apparently loves his A115 company car.
In 2009 Zotye approached Fiat, which was just about to kill off its MPV at 12 years old, and asked if it could make a copy for its domestic market. Fiat said yes, and the M300 was born. It’s all-electric too, making it as environmentally sound as it is visually horrendous.
Beijing Auto BJ80C
Based heavily on an iconic off-roader, actually using legitimate parts, the BJ80C is allowed to look almost identical to it because Daimler owns a portion of Beijing Auto.
In this particular case, a ruddy great slab of walnut running the length of the dash gives the rugged 4x4 a Rover-esque slice of sophistication.
Shanbao is another of the many brands owned by BAIC, which has a partnership with Daimler. So for the same reason that the BAIC A115 is based on the A-Class, so to is the D80 based on a premium executive saloon - even utilising a couple of its engines under the bonnet.
And with an interior dominated by a huge central touchscreen, it actually doesn’t look like a bad place to sit.
Unveiled at the 2015 Shanghai motor show, the Zotye E200 has an electric drivetrain that puts out a whopping 24PS. It will go on sale in China towards the end of 2015 for around £7500, alongside a five-door, four-seat version.
Hmm...distinctive two-seat car with an equivalently distinctive four-seat variant. Where have we seen that before?
Chinese company sees very popular small hatchback. Copies it and changes the name. Is it a MINI Cooper or is it a copy and paste? Well, according to Chinese law, it's 100 per cent legit, although we're not sure that BMW would agree...
Like a bald eagle sprayed liberally with Sex Panther, the Dongfeng is an extremely potent hunk of figurative and literal American power.
Sure enough, the Chinese found it irresistible, and from the mid-‘90s moved to make a version of its own. Dongfeng’s EQ2050 is the most prominent of a few versions, probably because the company worked with the original's maker AM General to make the copy, with the American company helping Dongfeng source parts.
Geely may not be a car manufacturer you’ve heard of, but there’s a good chance you’ve been in one of its cars – Geely owns the London Taxi Company and produces its black cabs.
But the company had a brief flirtation with infamy – and probably a Crewe-based law firm – in 2009 when it unveiled the Geely GE, which looked a lot like the sort of black cab that the very richest people tend to sit in the back of. There’s irony in there somewhere. At £30,000 it was about a ninth of the price of its (alleged) originator, but still featured a single rear ‘throne’ chair, thick pile carpets, a cigar holder and a fridge. A car fit for a Poundland Simon Cowell.
This amalgamation of Range Rover Evoque-inspired side panels and a very familiar grille makes for, ironically, a car unlike anything else. A concept car, it was unveiled at the 2015 Shanghai show but breaks first rule of the concept car by virtue of having massive and conventional door mirrors. It might look funny, but at least there’s nothing funny about its name. Nothing at all.