• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

China’s LandWind X7 fake Evoque sparks fury

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There seems to be no end in Chinese catch up game. Almost in every aspect of human endeavour, these third world economic super power tries to copy well and sometimes, they do that and do it perfectly well. This time around,  they have done it again with this new Range Rover Evoque.

At first glance, the new car unveiled at a motor show appeared to be an updated model of the Range Rover Evoque. With its signature body shape, lights and radiator grille and silver logo across the front edge of its bonnet, it was the spitting image of the British bestseller.

But in fact, it was a brazen copy of the hugely popular UK-designed ‘baby’ off-roader – and at a fraction of the price. Little-known Chinese carmaker LandWind launched its X7 at the Guangzhou motor show in China last week,. Its uncanny similarity to the Evoque’s distinctive design provoked an angry response from Jaguar Land Rover, which may take legal action to protect its brand.

The British manufacturer has just opened its first car factory in China in a venture with local firm Chery. Jaguar Land Rover chief executive Ralf Speth told Autocar magazine that: “The fact that this kind of copying is ongoing in China is very disappointing.

The intellectual property (IP) is owned by Jaguar Land Rover and if you break that IP then you are in breach of international regulations.”

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But drivers looking for a fashionable car at a bargain price might want to wait for safety inspection results. LandWind’s earlier CV9 people-carrier scored just two stars out of five in European crash tests in 2010.

It would recalled that four years ago, Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corporation cloned  a close copy of the B-Class. The Chinese carmaker is actually one of Mercedes-Benz’s partners in China, yet it’s unlikely that any kind of permission was given by the German company to copy the exterior design of its B-Class so closely. Especially since the BC301Z is not even based on the B-Class.

The Chinese hatchback instead offers the choice between 1.3-litre and 1.5-litre Mitsubishi-sourced petrol engines, the former mated to a manual gearbox and the latter offered with CVT transmission.

The company also plans to launch four-door sedan and five-door estate versions of this car during 2011, which we imagine would have been quite a task for the designers, considering there is no B-Class sedan or estate templates from which to copy.

MIKE OCHONMA