Several automakers including Porsche, Volkswagen, Smart and even Land Rover have all been victimized by cheap Chinese copycats. And if you haven’t seen it yet, the most recent one would be the Range Rover Evoque’s near exact Chinese replica, called the LandWind X7 that was introduced two years ago. In fact, both models almost look identical except for some tweaks. To prevent this from happening, the British automaker is thinking of implementing a new strategy - that is to hold off on showing concept cars too early.
Gerry McGovern, Land Rover design boss, recently said that they are now wary of showing concepts years before they’re produced because they fear that the Chinese will replicate them. This is because some of these Chinese brands are very quick at manufacturing and that they could easily beat the production version to the market. Apart from delaying the introduction of concept cars, Jaguar Land Rover has also filed copyrights and competition complaints in China against the LandWind X7.
Just last week, McGovern also said that they are nervous about introducing their concepts as they can simply be copied just like what happened with the Range Rover Evoque. A JLR spokesperson supported his statement by saying that the company’s success is based on their vehicles’ unique design and engineering attributes, and they strongly believe that these must be protected not just in their country, but in the global market.
Furthermore, this is not the very first time JLR experienced this problem with Chinese manufacturers. The Range Rover Sport has also been replicated and is being marketed as the Hongqi LS5. Besides that, there is also the Hanteng electric concept, which strangely looks very much like the Jaguar i-Pace concept. What’s worse is that these Chinese knockoffs are flooding the market. This is what has prompted JLR and other automakers to fight back.
Today, Jaguar Land Rover is worried that the new Defender SUV might be the next model to have a knockoff, considering that they have just teased some key design details earlier this week. McGovern said that designers and engineers are working extra hard to ensure that the new Defender lives up to its classic name. Now, with JLR’s new strategy, we are guessing that we won’t see another teaser of the Defender until it’s almost out.
Just how effective do you think JLR’s new strategy is in preventing Chinese manufacturers from copying their designs? Should they be more aggressive in going after these companies? And will other major automakers like Porsche and VW join in this battle too?