The Chinese car market is brimmed with small, affordable run-arounds that are best suited for city driving, fitting through tight streets and making parking as easy as possible. However, those living outside of major cities are less inclined to care about vehicle size, which is where most of the demand lies for 'copycat' cars styled strikingly similar to popular Western models. Copying isn't just exclusive to the motor industry though, even other enormous brands recieve the copy & paste treatment, such as Apple - there are entire stores in China that directly mirror that of a traditional Apple store, but everything on sale is just a knock-off.
Landwind X7 / Range Rover Evoque
The Landwind X7 is one of the most painstakingly obvious cases of a carbon copy, you don't have to look hard until you start seeing a Range Rover Evoque. On sale for roughly £14,000 the X7 managed to make it to the market despite Jaguar Land Rover taking legal action against them. They were however unsuccessful, due to the way intellectual property law works in China - if a design is showcased at a state-sanctioned motor show, the car must be registered within 6 months, otherwise, it's fair game for rival manufacturers to take influence for their own designs.
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Hanteng Electric Concept / Jaguar I-Pace
The Hanteng Electric concept is one of the more recent offenders, seemingly inspired by the likes of the new Jaguar I-Pace, mixed with Volvo-Esque alloys and badging, though we don't expect the safety technology to be anywhere near as good! While this car isn't as obvious as a copy as others, the fact that it's an EV with an enormous yet distinctive grille, it's a tad obvious where their design team got their ideas.
Do you like the idea of driving away in the super stylish I-Pace? Check out our offers here.
Zotye SR9 / Porsche Macan
Another controversial model is the Zotye SR9, on top of looking near enough identical to a Porsche Macan, the model uses a 2.0L turbo petrol engine with 187 horsepower made by Mitsubishi, with plans for a plug-in hybrid variant in the near future. Despite the close resemblance to the Macan, Porsche still hasn't attempted any form of legal action towards Zotye since the car went on show in 2016.
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K One / Mercedes-Benz GLA
Just one glimpse at the K One and you can’t help but immediately think of the Mercedes Benz GLA. This fully electric knockoff car is noticeably smaller than the superior German model. It is, however, over 10cm taller than the Merc. The copycat car went all out to mirror the stylish GLA, including the cutout of an exhaust pipe, despite being fully electric. We don’t know too much about this crossover, but we can say fairly confidently that it won’t live up to the standards of the GLA.
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Related Article - Are German Cars Really The Best?
BYD S8 / Mercedes-Benz CLK
The BYD S8 - an acronym of ‘build your dreams’ (although it should be ‘copy your dreams') is once again a near duplicate of the popular German brand, Mercedes Benz. First seen in 2007, the S8 is almost a copy and paste of the CLK convertible. BYD is one of the largest selling Chinese brands, and despite its blatant ‘inspiration’, the BYD S8 is a pretty popular car.
However, Mercedes-Benz is even more popular, and for good reason! Check out our latest Mercedes Benz deals here.
Lifan 320 / Mini Cooper
Mini is known for its iconic shape, style, and cuteness. Even people with no knowledge of cars are able to point out a Mini without looking at the logo. However, the Lifan 320 might catch some people out. This ‘supermini’, sold by Lifan Group in China and Russia, has clearly taken its inspiration from the unmissable Mini Cooper. Its round headlights, colour duo setup and interior heavily resemble the British brand. One noticeable difference, however, is the safety due to its unstable bodyshell. The knockoff is one of the least safe cars tested by Latin NCAP.
The Mini, however, is much safer, and more reliable. Are you interested in leasing a Mini? Check out our latest offers here.
Related Article - British Car Manufacturers
It's Not Just The Cars...
Speaking of badges - even manufacturer logos can't escape being copied, with BYD Auto taking an awful lot of inspiration from the BMW logo back in 1995! These days, BYD trades under a new logo, which now resembles the Kia logo! A little bit closer to home than Germany we suppose...
Some taxi drivers/tour guides will place fake manufacturer badges onto their cars in order to attract more business, due to the perception of Western vehicles being premium and well-built, tourists are lulled into false sense of security by assuming the level of quality when glancing at a familiar badge when looking for transport. Due to the lack of mandatory vehicle safety laws, some of these Chinese-made cars lack basic safety technology such as an anti-lock braking system. Popular Youtuber Serpentza sums this up pretty well in the video below:
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on 9 November 2018 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.