In a world of knock-off handbags and watches, at least these Chinese cars aren’t quite trying to pretend they are the real thing.
But they really are pretty close copies in many cases, at least to the untrained eye. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then the West should be very flattered indeed.
As the Beijing motor show revs up, we look at some of the copycats.
The copy: Lifan 320
The original: Mini
The Lifan 320 has morphed since its launch in 2008 from a rather close copy of a Mini to something more closely inspired by the Fiat 500. Perhaps the next one will look like an MG 3.
The copy: Landwind X7
The original: Range Rover Evoque
For £14,000 you can buy a Range Rover Evoque. Sort of. Land Rover were not amused, but Landwind had the last laugh when they were given the go-ahead to carry on production.
The copy: Shuanghuan SCEO
The original: BMW X5
BMW also took exception to something too close, since from the side and back the Shuanghuan SCEO is clearly an X5. The case wasn’t helped by the front looking like a Lexus, but BMW lost anyway, just like Land Rover.
The copy: CH Auto Lithia
The original: Audi R8
The profile is very R8 but at least this electric car has its own design for front and back. In fact it looks pretty good.
The copy: Geely Beauty Leopard
The original: Hyundai Coupe
A copycat Leopard from Geely, the company that now owns Volvo. A Hyundai at the front and a Toyota at the rear makes for a strange kind of cat.
The copy: Youxia Ranger X
The original: Tesla Model S
All you need to know is that Youxia means Knight Rider. The Ranger X even has LCD lights like Kitt the car. Although with a 0-62mph time of just 5.6sec, this is some kit car.
The copy: Shuanghuan Auto Noble
The original: Smart Fortwo
Unlike the Smart Fortwo, to which this car bears an uncanny resemblance, the Auto Noble is said to seat four people. Although it doesn’t say how big they can be. Based on some of the Toyota iQ in technology terms, this is an all-electric car.
The copy: Dojo Pioneer
The original: Aston Martin Cygnet
Based on some of the Toyota iQ in technology terms, this is an all-electric car. It’s a strange car to choose to copy but it’s claimed to have a range of 75 miles with a top speed of 37mph.
The copy: Yogomo S325
The original: Range Rover Evoque
This clearly isn’t a copy, although perhaps the Evoque was the inspiration for the shrunk-down lights on this rather gangly supermini.
The copy: Yogomo 330
The original: Kia Picanto
Oooh this is pretty close to a Kia Picanto isn’t it? But in China it may well find sales. Probably not anywhere else though.
The copy: Geely Merrie 300
The original: Mercedes-Benz C-Class
If you stood at the back of this saloon you’d think it was just an okay car. Move round to the front and you have a pretty exact copy of a Mercedes-Benz C-Class. There’s even a similar hood ornament. It must be a coincidence.
The copy: BYD logo
The original: BMW logo
Inspiration not exact copy – clearly that’s what this BYD logo is compared to the German original logo.
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