Land Rover Fails to Stop X7 SUV “Copy-Paste”

Land Rover Fails to Stop X7 SUV “Copy-Paste”
Land Rover Fails to Stop X7 SUV “Copy-Paste”

Jaguar-Land Rover (JLR) may have to live with an alleged Chinese copy of its best-selling Evoque small 4x4 vehicle, according to Britain’s Birmingham Post on Tuesday.

The UK headquartered car company previously said it would take legal action against Chinese car-maker Land-Wind over its X7 sports utility vehicle which Land Rover says is very similar to the Evoque model produced by Range Rover.

JLR first lashed out at the Chinese duplicate in November last year just weeks after Jaguar Land Rover opened its first Chinese car factory near Shanghai in a joint venture with Chery, who also sell in Iran.

The X7’s unveiling at the Guangzhou Motor Show prompted a strong rebuke from JLR’s chief executive Ralf Speth, who said the company would consult with its partner Chery on how to take legal action.

Speth revealed the carmaker may have no legal recourse open to it due to the Chinese legal system.

Speaking at a media briefing at this week’s Auto Shanghai, one of China’s main motor shows, he said: “There are no laws to protect us.

“We have to take it as it is. It’s a pity but it is as it is.

“In Europe, we can be protected against this kind of copy-paste in the design language, in the features but also the technology. You can’t be protected in China.”

Although Speth said he accepted that in all likelihood there was little that could be done he warned the issue could damage China’s reputation as a place to do business.

He added: “I really regret that all of a sudden copy-paste is coming up again. That will not help the reputation of China, of Chinese industry at all.”

Although LandWind’s Evoque rival has not yet been launched it is likely to cost just a fraction of the price of an Evoque.

The LandWind X7 was again being exhibited at Auto Shanghai and is expected to go on sale in July or August this year, with a starting price of just over $24,000, which compares to a starting price in China of $72,400 for a Chinese-made Evoque.

Land Rover executives fear the Chinese SUV could hit sales of the Evoque in China, with the giant Far Eastern superpower currently Jaguar Land Rover’s most popular market worldwide.

Speaking at the Guangzhou Motor Show last year, Speth said: “The fact that this kind of copying is ongoing in China is very disappointing. The simple principle is that it is not something that should happen.

“The intellectual property is owned by Jaguar Land Rover and if you break that then you are in breach of international regulations.

“As a company, we have invested heavily in China with our joint venture partner Chery Automotive. That commitment is based on a clear business plan that allows us to hit our sales targets at clear prices.”

“Anything that damages the potential profitability of our plant damages the integrity of those plans.”

He added that he believed Chinese officials would not be happy at actions that would “undermine the credibility of the country”.

Following the Guangzhou Motor Show Jaguar Land Rover said the matter would be investigated fully, adding that it would “take whatever steps are appropriate” to protect its intellectual property.

LandWind is a joint venture between two Chinese car-makers – Changan Auto and Jiangling Motors.

Audi, BMW, Jeep, Lexus, Mini, Toyota and Volkswagen have all been affected by cheap Chinese copies.

Speaking at Auto Shanghai, Bob Grace, Jaguar Land Rover’s head of Chinese operations, said: “The Chinese consumer is an intelligent consumer — they know what they are buying.”

“If you look at that branded product, in no way does it compare to anything that comes out of our factories.”

Grace added that the Chinese-built Evoque has seen “steady” sales since production began four weeks ago.

Jaguar Land Rover has seen its sales in China increase almost tenfold over the last six years to 120,000 units.

With the rise in China as a car manufacturer, the Land Wind and others like it will become hotly anticipated in the emerging markets which allow the import of Chinese vehicles. Iran’s second largest producer SAIPA is already openly admitting it is selling a Chinese copy of the BMW X1 model on its website. If the X7 gets the go ahead then expect to see the vehicle on Iranian roads by 2016.