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Copycats everywhere (Part I of II)

It’s been an industry wide secret for some time now, but the cat’s been officially let out of the bag. Chinese auto manufacturing firms have been copying successful car models from around the globe and said copies have been increasing by the year. Most automakers knew this day was coming, but did not much care as their access to the Chinese market, in their eyes, was worth it. Along the way however there have been several lawsuits. One of the more famous was in 2008 when Fiat sued Great Wall Motors over their Panda model. The lawsuit was a win for Fiat, successfully banning Panda’s sales in Europe. Honda attempted years earlier to sue Shuanghuan Auto in 2004 but was unsuccessful as it pertained to a blatant rip-off of their popular CR-V model.

This is a fun post because these copies are honestly otherworldly. Some of these cars look identical, and while that might be great for someone seeking to get their hands on a Range Rover rip-off that looks like a Range Rover, once you hit that acceleration or turn on the radio it is clear you’re not driving a Range Rover – not even close.  

BMW X1 vs Brilliance V5

Albeit a partner with BMW in China, the same partnership that launched the BMW X1 compact crossover to the Chinese market, Brilliance then came back and released the V5, an exact replica and likely one of the most egregious copies out there. Dubbed the V5, this car is only available in China and word is, it’s selling like hot cakes.

Toyota Yaris vs Chery Riich M1

Ok, from the side you cannot distinguish the difference. Both are small hatchbacks and Chery launched their model as a hatchback “designed for inner city commuters.” Well, the Yaris is also designed for inner city commuters and while the exterior is a direct lift, the guts of the car go to Toyota. The Yaris drives better and has received far fewer complaints.

MINI vs Lifan 330

Your humble scribe will admit, many a Lifan have roared past me while driving and I honestly had no clue they were Lifans. I just thought, yet another MINI dusting me on the open road. More specific to second generation MINIs, the playful hatchback shape, recognizable round headlights, and a front grille that is distinctively MINI, the 330 made its debut at the 2013 Beijing Auto Show and it was described as having a “MINI temperament.”

Stay tuned for Part II!

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