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Chinese cars, German courts and copycats
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, June 28, 2008

I don't know if you remember an article in the last week or so which said the Chinese government was really going to pay much more attention to counterfeit merchandise being produced there. That was all brought on by concerns about official Olympic merchandise's authenticity.

So this article about a Chinese car in Germany caught my attention:
A Munich car importer must stop selling a Chinese sport utility vehicle because its appearance is too similar to that of the BMW X5, a Bavarian court ruled Thursday.

Regional court spokesperson Frank Tholl said the sole German importer of the Shuanghuan CEO, China Automobile, could be fined €250 000 for each of the SUVs it sells and must destroy its existing stock of the vehicles.

"Whether that means the vehicles actually need to be dismantled, or whether they could be sent back to China or sold in other countries is unclear," Tholl said. "The final decision has not been written."

It was not yet clear when the ruling would take effect.
A report I found says the CEO is actually a blatant rip off of the BMW (rear and side) and the Toyota Highlander (front). You can see the BMW X5 here. Look especially at the rear and side views.

That got me to wondering if there were any other examples of Chinese rip-offs of Western & Japanese designs.

The answer?


Mercedes C vs Geely Merrie 300

Toyota Prado vs Dadi Shuttle

Why spend the money in design engineering when you can essentially reverse-engineer a winner?

How bad is it - well even logos aren't safe:

You can see a whole bunch of other copy-cat cars here.

With the Chinese it seems to be a cultural thing - or at least an acquired cultural thing. Remember all the copies they made of Soviet equipment? Original design doesn't, apparently, rank high on their list of cultural priorities any more.

Oh, and before I leave the article which put me on this tangent about Chinese cars - remember the German court said the dealer had to quit selling the cars, destroy its existing stock and possibly pay a fine for each vehicle.

Uh, maybe.
Karl Schloessl, a spokesperson for China Automobile, said the importer would appeal the decision in Germany and, if necessary, to the European Court of Justice.

"European law should prevail over German law in a case like this," Schloessl said.
How nice. Just makes you want to go right out and ratify that EU Constitution (or treaty or whatever it is called this go-round) if you're a German, doesn't it?
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Back about 5 years ago, the most popular sun glasses in China were labelled "Bay Rans" and the most popular styles were those from Men in Black.

About a month ago my wife showed me a pic of a chinese restaurant in Shenzhen specializing in chicken near a KFC. The restaurant had Chinese characters which were essentially pronounced K F C and it used the same colors on the sign.
Written By: Dusty
URL: http://
Yeah, we have a "KLG" here in Taiwan that is a blatant rip-off of KFC. But this is not a cultural issue. It is simply much cheaper and easier to rip-off a design than to make one of your own. The same with brand building.

If you want to see a reverse situation of copy-cat production, look no further than European artisans in the 17-18th centuries who copied Chinese designs.
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
A little beyond the statute of limitations, though, eh?
Written By: Bithead
There’s another really good imitation/copy of the Chevy Spark and the Cherry QQ. It’s supposedly such a blatant ripoff that you can take the doors off one and fit on the other and it seals perfectly.

Couple of links:
Did Spark Spark A Copycat?

Some good pics:
Forum link
Written By: Bill W.
URL: http://

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