It’s common knowledge that copyright and patent laws in China are extremely lax. In the automobile industry, this makes it very easy for car designs to be copied because it’s almost impossible for car manufacturers from outside the country to file for any form of infringement in a Chinese court. Coupled with the fact that some of the originals they’re copying are so expensive, people are gladly paying for some convincing Chinese copied cars that make notorious copycat companies even more inclined to rip-off designs. Lets find out about 20 of the worst and most blatant Chinese copied cars that are so ridiculous that they’d sadden and amuse you at the same time.
20 – Huansu C60 Hyosow
It is no question that the Lamborghini Urus is a dream of car; it is the world’s first super sport utility vehicle that combines luxury, sportiness and performance with comfort and versatility.
Unfortunately, at a price of $200 K, this car remains a dream for most people. It therefore makes sense that several Chinese companies would try to copy this model. Look at this Huansu Auto c60 Hyosow, suspiciously released just a year after the Urus was unveiled.
You can definitely see similarities between the grill, headlights and its sleek design. It’s a midsize crossover that recreates the Urus with some strategic tweaks to avoid lawsuit territory. Also, it’s being offered at one-tenth of the price.
19 – Geely GE
Gee, is that a Rolls-Royce Phantom I see driving by? Why, yes and no. At first glance, the Geely GE looks a lot like the Rolls-Royce Phantom, with massage seats, a pure wool carpet and a wine cabinet to add to the lavish outlook. Geely claims to be “re-inventing the classic” with their Geely GE, but the vast classical radiator, Phantom-like contours and the Rolls-Royce signature flying lady on the bonnet screams “creating a clone”.
The GE even has a starlight interior roof lining which is a key feature of the original.
So why spend $350,000 on the Phantom when you can roll up in a Geely GE for just over $30,000? Just don’t expect the same attention to detail you’d get with a Rolls.
18 – Suzhou Eagle Carrie
If you always thought it was difficult to choose between a Porsche and a Ferrari, then you should check out the Suzhou Eagle Carrie.
It’s an electric vehicle created by a company specialising in electric vehicles like golf carts. It’s purported to go from 0-62mph in just 4.8 seconds. Car experts call this sports car a “pastiche of the worst kind” as it appears to combine the front of a Ferrari california and the headlights, body and rear of a Porsche Cayman. Even the badges of the Porsche and Eagle have unmistakable similarities in colour and design.
The model text at the rear is also shamelessly in the same font.
Pricing information isn’t available, but you can bet it’s many factors less than either a real Ferrari or Porsche.
17 – Zotye SR9
The Zotye SR9, on the other hand, clearly takes its inspiration solely from the Porsche Macan; being released a suspicious 2 years afterwards.
The similarities are numerous, from the overall designs, the proportions, side pods in bumper, panels on doors, roofline and even the mirrors. The main difference being the shape of the lights, grille and the roof rails. Porsche wanted to sue but Zotye didn’t even sweat since they already cloned several other high-class vehicles beforehand, so you can bet they’re coming up again. To their credit, they did recently restyle the SR9 with altered front and rear-end designs and a smaller engine.
Nice going, Zotye, but at the end of the day, it is still a clear Macan clone at 1/5th of the price.
16 – Zotye Z700
Hey that didn’t take long! In 2015, Zotye released a flagship sedan called the Z700, which was clearly heavily influenced by the Audi A6L.
Except at one-third of the price. While the dimensions are slightly different but extremely close, there is no mistake that the dashboard is an exact replica of the Audi A6L. You can judge for yourself.
15 – K-One
K-One or K-Lone? Due to its compact size, this car is basically a Mercedes-Benz GLA clone. It’s slightly smaller than the real GLA but they both weigh around 3,000lbs; moreover it’s styled liked the GLA with the shape of the headlights, radiator grille et cetera. However, the K-One is fully electric which proves they took this copy a bit too seriously because they left the exhaust outlets in the design.
14 – Geely Merrie 300
In this instance, it seems that Geely was too lazy to try to “re-invent the classic” but just full-on copied the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
They didn’t even make the slightest of tweaks. From the front, they look exactly the same, complete with the ornament emblem on the hood. The Geely is simply a third of the price, but no guarantees on the quality.
13 – Jonway UFO
Jonway Automobile probably should have reconsidered the title of this car because its easily identified as a copy of the Toyota RAV4. It can be argued that an outdated design was used since it more closely resembled the second-generation RAV4 but it is a clone nonetheless.
Whilst most clone cars are restricted to sales in china, as they’re blocked from being imported into other countries on the grounds of obvious infringement, apparently Toyota cannot stop UFO sales in Europe because it didn’t get patent protection for the design in Europe. The UFO is on sale with a starting price of around $18,000 while the RAV4’s starting price is over $31,000. However, the lower price does allude to many quality compromises.
12 – Lifan 320
Chinese Automaker Lifan Motors is also notorious for creating clones. They created the Lifan 320(right) which mainly copies the Mini Cooper(left) with a touch of the Fiat 500L.
The features such as the different colour roof, roundish headlamps and dash are identical to the MiniCoop. It’s known for being one of the least safe cars on the market, with a Latin NCAP rating of zero out of five stars. If you’re not too fussed about the whole surviving thing, then you can pick one of these up for around $7,000 – which is 1/4th the price of a mini cooper produced in the same year.
11 – Lifan Xuanlang MPV
Didn’t take long for Lifan to reappear. This one’s a copy of the Ford S-Max.
Lifan copied the overall design, roof lines, window lines, front windshield, shape of third side window, line over the doors. Of course, it’s just a fraction of the price of it’s counterpart. Just know, choosing between the clone and the real deal might just be a matter of “Lifan death”.
10 – Chery QQ
A few years after the Daewoo Matiz was released, the state-owned Chinese company Chery decided to produce its version of the car but the result was less than stellar.
The cars look almost exactly alike and many of their parts were interchangeable. Going for roughly half the price of the Matiz, the Chery QQ is said to be so tiny, it looks like a lawnmower. Only 11.6 feet long, Chery still tried to outfit the car with 5 doors to seat people in the back. Want to know what is the not-so-Chery on top? It has no radio or air conditioning.
9 – Shuanghuan Noble
Maybe one of the more brazen clones is the Shuanghuan Noble which is a copy of the Smart Fortwo.
Not only did Shuanghuan launch the Fortwo in 2007 but they had the audacity to use the slogan “Smarter than the rest”. That doesn’t sound too noble to me. The Noble was priced between 8,880 and 11,800 euros compared to Smart Fortwo which started at 9,850 euros. Production of the Noble ended in 2013 but there are still sellers offering the conversion kits.
8 – BAIC BJ80
Nope, this isn’t the Mercedes G-Class but the BAIC BJ80. This rip-off is unmistakable because of its shape and the fact that both vehicles look ready to tackle anything. In 2018, BAIC also rolled out a 6X6 version that channels AMG’s G63 6X6 pickup.
Most recently, China’s military named it as the most reliable off-road vehicle. However, this seems questionable since the AMG version has a twin-turbocharged V-8 power source while the BJ80 has a 2.3-litre turbocharged inline-4. In other words, its 544 horsepower against 250 horsepower. Of course, cost would have played a factor as the BJ80 is much cheaper than its counterpart.
7 – Yogomo 330
The Yogomo 330 (left) was announced very ceremoniously in 2015; it’s not like they tried very hard to conceal its resemblance to the Kia Picanto (right).
Despite it being a bit larger, the 330 is still a low-speed electric vehicle; the only difference to the Picanto are its grille and mirrors. You can pick one up in china for around $5,000; considerably less than its south Korean source material.
6 –CH Auto Lithia
The Ch-Auto Lithia may not be an EXACT clone but it is apparent that it was largely inspired by the Audi R8.
The front and back of the Lithia is unique but the side profile, side fins and roof design are definitely R8-esque. The Lithia is fully electric and powered by a set of lithium-ion batteries that give it a driving range of about 100 miles. Compared to other clones, it’s relatively expensive, at over $115,000 which is more than two thirds the price of an R8.
5 – Lifan 330
So when you make a copy of a popular car and it has poor sales, you have to get inventive…give it a facelift and make it a better clone. Say hello to the Lifan 330, which is the “new and improved” Lifan 320 or the “new and improved” clone of the Mini Cooper.
This time they copied the dashboard and placed the digital speedometer in the middle of the tachometer gauge but the stereo was still round.
The Lifan 330 came in three configurations – standard, luxury and flagship with prices about 1/4th the cost of a real minicooper at the time of production. Despite the price saving, many Chinese consumers prefer to pay for quality, as sales slumped. It wasn’t much better than the 320 in terms of safety but it had a bit more standard safety equipment which really makes you really wonder about the 320.
4 – Shanxi Victory Jinchi X1
It is safe to say that no rapper will be singing about this Cadillac anytime soon. The Shanxi Victory Jinchi X1(left) is a dreadful Chinese copied car of the grand Cadillac Escalade pickup(right).
At a glance, they look the same but on closer inspection, they couldn’t be more different. The Escalade sports a V8 6-litre engine while its Chinese copied car counterpart has a modest 4-cylinder, 2-litre engine. The interior is also disappointing; it doesn’t offer the luxury of the Escalade but instead is very dull and dominated by cheap-looking black plastics.
Well, that “escaladed” quickly. But to be fair, it’s not unexpected, given that it’s FAR cheaper.
3 – Youxia Ranger X
In July 2015, Huang Xiuyuan, the 28-year-old CEO of Youxia Motors revealed a design for a high-performance electric sedan. The Youxia Ranger X looks almost identical to the Model S and Youxia Motors claims that it was developed by the “world’s leading engineering companies.”
Ummm, okay. The Ranger X features a large central screen similar to that in the Model S and has a holographic display that can show the “Y” emblem, that looks suspiciously like the Tesla’s “T” emblem.
This company takes the copying to a whole other level by adding an operating system used by the car’s infotainment services called “Kitt”. Yes, like Kitt from the 1980’s TV-show Knight Rider. But the hardest part to believe is probably the price tag – starting at just over $30,000.
2 – BYD S8 (F8)
In 2006, the BYD S8 was announced as the first Chinese hardtop convertible. However, it clearly wasn’t the first in the world, since it seems strikingly similar to the Mercedes-Benz CLK with the headlamps, grill and entire front end looking like it was taken directly from the CLK.
However, they seemed to have gotten the proportions wrong so it looks a bit awkward compared to the good-looking CLK coupe. The main difference would be the prices, with the S8 being a fraction of the cost of a CLK at the time.
But of course, if you still can’t afford any of the typically inexpensive commercially manufactured clones, you can also resort to building your own, which is why this homemade Lamborghini deserves an honourable mention on this list.
Inspired by his love of cars and the fact that there were only 21 Lamborghini Reventon cars in the world, Wang Jian set out to build his own. Okay, so his model cannot reach 220mph but it cost him around $7,500 to build which is nothing compared the over $1 million price tag for the real thing. Unfortunately for Wang, he was refused a licence to drive his creation on the road so he would never get to fulfil his dream of cruising the streets with his masterpiece.
1 – Landwind X7
Let’s just say when the Landwind X7 was announced in 2015, it “evoqued” a lot of controversy. Why? Because it looks just like the Range Rover Evoque first produced a few years earlier.
The identical design and paint job is unquestionable, even the branding across the top of the top of the hood is in the same position. There was only minor differences such as the Landwind having a chrome strip over the grille and the headlights looking chunkier. But let’s face it, if the branding was covered up, it would be pretty difficult to pick the original from the copy in a line-up. Both cars also have 2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engines, but Evoque has 237 horsepower compared to the Landwind’s 190 horsepower. The price for the Landwind starts around $19,600 which is a little over one-fifth of the price of the Evoque.
Whilst it’s a shame most of these Chinese copied cars cars have been blatantly ripped off, this blatant stealing is only just being halted. Surprisingly, in March of 2019, the Beijing Chaoyang District Court banned the Land wind and ordered its creator, Jiangling Motors, to immediately stop manufacturing of it. This is the first case of a Chinese court supporting a foreign company in the car industry, as China is beginning to crack down on intellectual property infringements in an effort to strengthen trade talks and American investment in china.
But do you think it’s too little too late? Has China been exploiting foreign brands for too long, or are you happy something is finally being done about it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section down below. Thanks for reading!