Chinese copycats: Imitation game by automakers continues at Shanghai Auto Show

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Posted on: July 20, 2017
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    At Shanghai car show, certain Chinese-made models bear striking resemblances to popular foreign brand names.( AFP )If replica is the sincerest type of flattery, then worldwide carmakers are basking in the compliments at Shanghai’s vehicle program, where some Chinese-made models bear striking similarities to well-known foreign brands.The annual exhibit is the biggest automobile showcase in the world’s largest automobile market, but likewise an occasion that restores consistent accusations of Chinese businesses copying foreign designs.The program opened today with automotive media and web wags highlighting a variety of Chinese designs with more than a passing likeness to their Porsche, Land Rover, Mercedes and other counterparts.Intellectual-property theft is widespread in a series of markets in China, and foreign automakers

    have taken legal action over the years versus Chinese competitors for suspiciously comparable designs.But Mercedes’China employer Hubertus Troska chuckled it off when asked by reporters about a Chinese-made cars and truck on screen throughout from the Mercedes stand which looked just like the German maker’s G-Class SUV.”We take it as a compliment,”Troska quipped.Other vehicle doppelgangers consist of one by little-known Chinese brand name Zotye which costs 100,000 yuan($14,500)and could be

    misinterpreted for Porsche’s stylish Macan SUV, which has

    a sticker cost of$87,000. The Zotye SR9 car( left) is a doppelganger of the Porsche Macan SUV.(AFP)A Porsche spokeswoman brushed it off, stressing that foreign car manufacturers compete for different market segments and earnings levels than their

    Chinese counterparts.”We are absolutely sure that automobile enthusiasts will easily be able

    to inform the distinction in between the original Porsche Macan and the copycat due to style, excellence and total quality,”said Anja Wassertheurer, Porsche’s director of item and technical

    communications.Land Rover’s Variety Rover Evoque SUV also is on display screen in Shanghai, as is a model by similarly-named Chinese carmaker Landwind that has actually sparked a legal fight between the two.The British producer in 2014 released a bid to void Landwind’s patent on its X7 SUV, prompting a tit-for-tat move by the Chinese company in a battle that continues. A Land Wind X7 cars and truck by Chinese carmaker Land Wind(left)is a copy feline of the Land Rover’s Variety Rover Evoque.( AFP )The opportunities of a foreign carmaker winning an auto

    patent case in China are “exceptionally low”due to the way the nation’s patent laws are composed, said Li Yanwei, an expert with the China Auto Dealers Association.”A conviction can just be made when the 2 vehicles ‘design and size match exactly,”he said.”Companies like Zotye only have to slightly adjust some parameters and the other brand won’t have the ability to win.

    “Global car manufacturers largely have to simply accept such mimicry and concentrate on that they contend for different buyers.Chinese carmakers included in such disputes did not respond to AFP ask for comment.Honda filed a suit in 2004 versus Chinese carmaker Shuanghuan Car, implicating it of copying the exterior of the Japanese maker’s popular CR-V SUV, however lost the case in 2015. A South Korean model poses with Honda’s All New CR-V Turbo throughout the Seoul Motor Show in Goyang near Seoul on March 30, 2017.

    ( AFP file picture )Honda had to spend 16 million yuan for legal charges and”credibility damage” caused on Shuanghuan, which folded last year.Industry watchers say the number of such conflicts are expected to reduce as Chinese producers’ style capabilities grow.” There was a time when style was not at the core of the

    (Chinese carmakers ‘)issue. It was more about delivering a product. Now, original style production in China is blossoming,”said Christophe Cayrol, head of French vehicle brand Citroen’s design centre in Shanghai.


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