CloneWars – The Rise of the East

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People say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, others may choose the phrase “Copyright Infringement”.

Any product or brand that finds themselves knocking on the door of success and recognition may find that there are others who wish to flatter them greatly by copying their product. You could also view it as trying to take a slice of that recognition (and profit). Whether it’s a luxury Rolex timepiece, iPhone, Nikon camera or even a Zippo lighter, there are manufacturers that are happy to supply you an exact replica; Rolecks, Sippo and Nickon are just some that we’ve seen, but now it seems that some of the hardcore manufacturers are getting on to bigger and better things.

Zotye SR8

Looking for a Porsche Macan? Can’t quite afford the $52,000 asking price? Why not buy yourself the Zotye SR8; it’s $13,000 of Porsche loveliness.

OK, so look a little closer and it has about as much Porsche in it as a hotdog, but from ½ mile away, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference.

In fact, the Zotye SR8 is so much like the Porsche that Porsche are considering suing the manufacturer for infringement of copyright.

Ordinarily, you’d think that any manufacturer would be ‘considering their position’ in this instance, but Zotye seem unconcerned; they’ve already had their day in court with Audi and Volkswagen, and won.

So now you can have the Porsche Macan, Audi A6, VW Tiguan, VW Touareg and an Audi Q3. All available in budget spec with budget price.

The same but different

But Zotye aren’t the only ones; we have a Landwind X7 (Range Rover Evoque), Jinbei Diazi (Acura MDX), Ruili DoDa V8 (which surprisingly doesn’t come with a V8 and is modelled on a car so hideous that even the manufacturer doesn’t want to make it – the Toyota Alphard), the Beijing BJ90 (Mercedes-Benz GLS) and the Hawtai B35 (which sounds like the name of a modem) – a Porsche Cayenne rip-off.

Admittedly, these vehicles aren’t for export, they are for the domestic market only, but how long will it be before the manufacturers of these comedy vehicles decided that they want to play on the world stage? What will the manufacturers like Porsche, Audi, BMW and Volkswagen do then?

Safety

Putting aside any safety concerns for now (assuming that these vehicles have had some sort of crash testing compliance), if they chose to export to the free world, the big European manufacturers would have no choice but to take legal action and that could take years and costs millions of dollars.

What do you get for your money?

Let’s take a look at the Landwind X7; the Range Rover that it’s based on costs around $80,000, the X7 is … (wait for it) … $18,000.

OK, you don’t get the same engine, it’s a 2.0 liter Mitsubishi motor, but you still get leather, comfort, wood, climate, camera – pretty much most of the toys you could expect in the Evoque. But it’s $62,000 cheaper!

That isn’t just a bit of money; you could have nearly 4½ X7’s for one Evoque; you could almost afford to dispose of it when it goes wrong. How can it be done?
So the ride is a bit poor, the handling a bit wayward, the motor a bit underpowered, but is that SIXTY TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS?

For us, we’ll never really know, we doubt any of these will ever make it to the U.S. but one things for sure, if they do, these manufacturers will need to make cheap clones of lawyers, because otherwise they’ll drown in litigation costs.

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