Chinese Car Knockoffs
The automotive industry is worldwide with carmakers of nearly every nationality producing unique designs, trying to earn their piece of the profits. In 2014, almost 83 million new cars and trucks were sold globally, resulting in massive profits for the top auto manufacturers. It’s no coincidence that those top carmakers are the ones with the most innovative designs, advanced features and bold looks.
Other car makers that aren’t quite so well-known take cues from those big guns. It’s a fine line between taking cues and copying, however, and one market in the world seems to cross that line regularly. In China, knockoffs of popular models are all over the industry, appearing in car shows including the Shanghai Motor Show.
The burning question is the legality of Chinese car knockoffs and, well, it’s not so simple. While there are copyright laws and artistic design protections in place, it’s quite difficult or nearly impossible to prove. There has to be tangible evidence that the copy has been derived from the original and it’s just not something that is pursued all that often. Besides, the originals sell MUCH better than the copies.
Check out These Chinese Car Knockoffs
Land Wind X7
The Land Wind X7 is one of the best lookalikes you’ll find. It’s so incredibly similar in appearance to the Land Rover’s compact SUV, the Range Rover Evoque. Unless you know exactly what you’re looking at, the two vehicles appear nearly identical. Both feature a 2.0-liter engine, but while the Evoque uses their own 4-cylinder with 240 horsepower and nine-speed transmission, the Land Wind X7 falls well short with an 187-horsepower Mitsubishi engine and eight-speed gearbox. The interior material quality is subpar even in images and, most definitively, it simply is not Range Rover quality.
In the US, a MINI Cooper starts at a base price of almost $21,000. It’s manufactured under the BMW umbrella and is held to the same quality standards as their big brother. In China, the Lifan 320 mimics the appearance of a MINI Cooper in nearly every way – from the trapezoidal grille shape to the blacked-out roof pillars and even the wheel designs. The Lifan 320 undercuts the MINI Cooper in a mean way, offering their model for pennies on the dollar. You can get into the Lifan 320 for under $6,000 USD but who knows if you’ll get out alive. With such a reduction in price, what’s being sacrificed? Safety equipment? Reliable powertrain? Material quality? Maybe it’s all compromised to some extent.
Dongfeng Crazy Soldier
The Chinese love their highly-visible knockoffs and the Dongfeng Crazy Soldier won’t disappoint. You’ll never guess what this one is a copy of. Wait, yes you will. The military-grade Hummer H1 is so blatantly obvious in the Dongfeng Crazy Soldier that you could easily mistake it for such. Actually, the Dongfeng is such a good copy of the Hummer H1 that it’s actually reported to be a good military vehicle. It’s powered by a Cummins turbo-diesel engine and has the same 4×4 capability as the original. It can be fitted with everything from air conditioning and GPS to a grenade launcher and an anti-tank missile launcher. Good job on this one, China.
If you ever wanted to look like a baller without actually being one, the Geely GE may be for you. Rolls-Royce considered legal action when the original Geely GE concept rolled out in 2009. The car was so unmistakably based on their popular Phantom luxury car that at first glance you could call it a Rolls. After going back to the drawing board, Geely revamped the GE somewhat. The powertrain is a laughable hybrid with a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder and a plug-in electric motor that produces only 272 horsepower, barely enough to push this mammoth to 60 miles per hour. The interior is actually quite charming with two-tone plastics, supple leather, and accents of chrome and woodgrain. It’s a good limo or airport taxi for luxury clients, but it surely won’t pass for a Rolls-Royce with any amount of in-depth inspection.
If you mashed together a Porsche Cayman and a Ferrari F12 Berlinetta, you’d end up with the Eagle Came, just without the innovation, capability, or quality of either. Suzhou Eagle specializes in electric vehicles such as golf carts and garbage trucks, yet thought maybe building a supercar was a good idea. Or, at least, the façade of a supercar. The Eagle Came is an electric vehicle with a reported acceleration of 0-60 miles per hour in a respectable 4.8 seconds and a top speed of 75 MPH. Wait, what was that?!!? A top speed of 75 MILES per hour? If you’re going to come up with a Porsche/Ferrari lookalike, you’ve got to do better than a mere 75 MPH. Shake my head, Suzhou Eagle.
Qiantu K50 Event!
If you noticed, there’s an exclamation point in the name, and that’s not an accident. Why the Event! has punctuation in its name is a little confusing, especially for autocorrect. The K50 (that’s what we’ll call it) looks very much like the Bugatti Veyron, doesn’t it? Down to the two-tone paint in a fashionable design, though maybe not quite as refined as the Bugatti itself. It’s actually an electric car with 400 horsepower from dual electric motors and has an impressive 4-second 0-60 time. That makes it China’s second-fastest electric car aside from the Tesla P85D. It won’t have the same range and isn’t truly a Bugatti or a competitor but definitely takes some styling cues from them. This may actually be one to watch.
A while back, a picture circulated online showing a massive saw blade embedded into the front end of a JMC truck in China. Everyone thinks JMC is a ripoff of GMC, and maybe there are certain similarities in design like the way they prominently display the acronym on the grille. JMC is surprisingly a well-known automaker, teaming up over the years with major players in the industry including Ford and Isuzu. Some of their vehicles are legit, but it turns out they are actually in bed with Changan who manufactures the Landwind brand. That name is familiar, right?