Car Wars - Attack of the Clones

'Is this original or Taiwan?’

The above statement is a regular parlance in market places in Nigeria. The name Taiwan’ in question actually refers most times to the fact that the product being inquired is an Asian version of an original. In the past Taiwan products were so plenty in contrast to originals in Nigeria, that the name stuck, even when other Asian products that impersonated products began to enter the market.

Today, Asian technology has become notorious for ‘cloning’ original products and no matter how hard they try to hide it, it’s downright obvious. Initially, it was electronics that were being cloned, but they’ve gone way further – they now clone cars! Though this is not a new development, but here in Nigeria, the Asian car makers seem to being enjoying patronage as their vehicles are flooding the Nigerian auto market, and we are beginning to see all manner of attempts to copy originally existing cars.

Recently, I came across an article online about cars that attempt to clone well established brands. A Chinese automobile company, Zhejiang Jonway, some time ago introduced a car called ‘UFO’ which was nothing but a copycat of Toyota’s ‘Rav 4’.

Toyota Rav4 - The Original

Zhejiang Jonway UFO - The Clone

Shuanghuan Automobile, another Chinese auto manufacturer also introduced the ‘CEO’ a vehicle that bore a striking resemblance to BMW’s X5.

BMW X5 - The Original

Shuanghuan CEO - The Clone

You’d think cloning high – range vehicles known for crafted performance was where it stopped but what would you say about the new Geely GE luxury sedan that was unveiled recently at a Shanghai Motor Show? This was a serious copycat of the famous Rolls Royce phantom! 

Rolls Royce Phantom - The Original

Geely GE - The Clone

I  rummaged the internet more and got more shockers. Apparently, original brands have more than one clone culprits. I discovered that the GE wasn't the only one that 'copycat-ed' the rolls royce. The clones are almost countless!

Hongqi HQD (Another Clone) and Rolls-Royce Phantom (The Original)

Chevrolet Spark (The Original) and Chery QQ (The Clone)

Now this was way too much alike. They're almost like the same thing! CMEC City Smart (Clone) and DaimlerChrysler Smart Car (Original)

Are these clones an attempt to create cars that look very much like originals but happen to be cheaper? If I know the Asian market well, they’ve been known for that in all their inventions. Anything that is cloned has always been a cheaper version of an original – and cars are not left out. That’s seems to be the benefit of buying a clone; owning something close to the expensive real thing. 

But while that may be a benefit to some, it’s an obstacle to makers of the original models.

The development hasn’t been sitting well with them. The Germans automobile manufacturer of BMW is pursuing legal action against the Chinese manufacturer. Rolls-Royce officials promptly got on the horn to their lawyers after clapping their eyes on the GE. 
Why won’t they? Imagine the price difference of similar looking cars - an estimated £30,000 – around $44k USD – for the Geely GE versus £250,000/$365k for the Phantom! And the likeness is so strong that few are likely to confuse the two vehicles. Also a brand like the GE may negatively affect the perception of the Phantom brand.

For me, I don’t think I’d like to own a cloned car. I prefer to own an original. If I can’t get a brand new original (without a car loan, ‘cause I hate loans!), I’ll go for a fairly used one.

To see more shocking lookalikes, click here.


7 Screamer(s):

Anonymous said...

hey nice which one are you buying me...(looking around) I meant buying your little angel once she's grown.

Tigeress said...

This definitely should be illegal. But knowing elite Nigerians- I dont see them buying these clones.

And why am i not in ur blog roll?

chayoma said...

the smart car got me confused cldnt tell one from the other....

Parakeet said...

The cloning is unforgiveably blatant...ahn ahn. Am with you, original all the way if I can afford it or I stick with a no name thank you very much.

How's you and the family?

Yep I can imagine the big firms have got their lawyers all over the Chinese copy cats! That's just wrong, to blatantly steal someone else's ideas and pass them off as your own.
I too would probably settle for the original that I can afford, not a clone. At least if things go wrong, you'll know where to go for parts and repairs.

Hope you and the fam are doing great!

Olufunke said...

I didn't know cloning of cars was this serious,
I normally just say, oh..see that car it looks like that Toyota, that Benz ..etc
The pictures you put up are very nice, I never knew these 'copies' are so much alike!

I would also prefer the original, but if 'pocket' no reach, one can make do with some 'copies'

I can imagine the original makers are doing something about these copy cats.
Nice one!

shally said...

1st time here.cloning cars?i give these guys kudos,very soon they wud clone humans for sale.but on the other hand,i support serious legal actions against them.haba,r they so un-creative,stealing pple's ideas.
nwayz,i'll always go for an original.afterall,am an original.