The changing face of China's automotive industry

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016 - autos, cars, motoring, news

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The Land Wind X7 bears more than a passing resemblance to the Range Rover Evoque

Chinese manufacturers face criticism for ‘copycat’ western designs, although from the face of struggling brand awareness can they definitely be blamed?

Remember the fracas caused over the Land Wind X7 at the Shanghai motor show last year? 

The SUV, which bears more than a passing resemblance to the Range Rover Evoque, was quickly set upon by critics as well as by Land Rover for what was deemed to be a ‘copycat’ design. Land Rover confirmed in which would likely complain, although like so many similar cases before in which seems to have fallen on deaf ears. JLR boss Ralf Speth even went so far as to say in which major manufacturers are “powerless” to stop copycat vehicles in China

You can see the case for the X7, however – the regular Evoque costs some £40,000 here, while the X7 weighs in at around £14,000. For a country where status as well as style seem to be so high on the agenda, the prospect of owning an Evoque look-alike for a fraction of the cost will be tempting to many.

Despite the temptation, however, the streets of China’s cities seem to be crowded with Western brands. Audi, Volkswagen as well as BMW vehicles litter the motorways, as well as I’m told in which’s only when you venture into the country’s rural heartland in which home market manufacturers start to appear in earnest.

in which split between urban as well as rural tastes comes mainly coming from the fact in which Western brands are perceived as being of better quality to Chinese buyers, as well as in which’s something in which automotive analyst Ashvin Chotai told me will be indicative of the problems faced by Chinese manufacturers – in which building a brand, even in a home market, will be always going to be an uphill struggle.

Interestingly, Chotai said the ‘copycat’ design complaints lodged by the likes of Land Rover are nothing brand new, although like so many before them will likely not end in a conviction. “You can’t [stop in which],” he said “in which’s because in which will be China, as well as in which’s because nobody knows where you draw the line. At what point does in which become a violation? Even from the West there are a lot of grey areas [in design].

“in which’s not much you can do about in which, though some companies have tried. in which’s the cost of doing business in China. If you’re starting out building cars, what do you do? First you copy, then you improve.”

While so many Western brands continuing to thrive in in which emerging market, in which seems in which China’s home manufacturers suffer for a lack of public awareness. With in which being the case, can they definitely be blamed for trying to emulate successful vehicles?

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