For three years running, from 2013 to 2015, China accounted for a larger percentage of Jaguar Land Rover sales than any other country. In January, 2017, JLR saw its highest sales ever in a single month, topping out at almost 50,000 vehicles. It’s a feat that simply wouldn’t be possible without the exploding Chinese market that seems to have an insatiable appetite for luxury vehicles.
In fact, that desire to drive some of the most beautiful and expensive cars and SUVs in the world has spawned a whole new industry in China.
Luxury Car & SUV Cloning
Based on the unprecedented growth in the market, (China accounted for almost a quarter or global vehicle production in 2014, up from 8% just four years before), many of the world’s top car brands have major manufacturing and sales operations in China, and JLR is among the leaders in the country. But China’s local car manufacturers are cashing in on the demand for the foreign brands too.
How so? By literally copying them.
Land Rover enthusiasts might be familiar with the almost carbon copy of the Range Rover Evoque produced in China by a company called Jiangling. Its luxury SUV, the Land Wind (see what they did there?!) sells for about one third of the price of an Evoque, but ‘looks strikingly similar’, according to the Globe & Mail.
And while JLR vehicles are popular targets for China’s copy-cat car manufacturers, with doppelgänger versions of the I-Pace (the Hanteng Electric Concept) and Range Rover (the Hongqi LS5), they are not nearly alone.
Clone versions of Porsches, BMWs and even a Rolls-Royce Phantom, are all produced in China.
While it might seem strange to us here in Canada that a company can so blatantly copy another car manufacturer’s design, but laws are different in China. To give you an idea of how different, after JLT sued Jiangling, the Chinese government cancelled design patents on both the Evoque and its clone.