The LandWind X7, a much-criticised clone of the Range Rover Evoque, has been revealed in its final production form and will go on sale in China next month.
The new model has been the subject of an intense legal dispute between Jaguar Land Rover and LandWind, with JLR claiming the X7 looks too similar to the Range Rover Evoque, which is already on sale in China.
However, JLR's complaints were dismissed by Chinese authorities earlier this year, leading JLR boss Ralf Speth to claim that car manufacturers were 'powerless' to stop Chinese companies ripping off their designs.
“China, from my point of view has enough creativity and engineering power to do something on their own and doesn’t have to fall back to the time when copying was of interest,” Speth said, according to Autocar India. However, Speth said there is nothing that manufacturers can do if they have their designs copied by Chinese car companies.
“We can’t do anything. I hope the Chinese customer at the end of the day sees the difference and selects the real product and not a copied one. We hope they generate a self-regulation process so that they can get rid of this kind of copy-paste way of working”, Speth added, pointing out that there is currently no law against the practice.
The row between LandWind and Land Rover broke out last November, when the covers came off the LandWind at the Guangzhou motor show. At the time of the LandWind X7's reveal, Speth confirmed to Autocar that he would complain to Chinese officials regarding what he considered to be Intellectual Property theft regarding the lookalike LandWind X7.
The LandWind X7 bears a striking resemblance to the Evoque, a locally produced version of which was also unveiled at the Guangzhou motor show in 2014.
While the authentic local-market Evoque retails for the equivalent of £40,000, the LandWind X7 costs £14,000. The X7 is powered by a 188bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 184lb ft of torque. It is offered with a choice of either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic gearbox.
"The fact that this kind of copying is ongoing in China is very disappointing," said Speth last year. "The simple principal is that it is not something that should happen; the Intellectual Property is owned by Jaguar Land Rover and if you break that IP then you are in breach of international regulations that apply around the world.
"As a company we have invested heavily in China with our joint venture partner Chery. 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.
LandWind is a standalone Chinese car maker created as a joint venture between respected Chinese car makers Changan Auto and Jiangling Motors Corporation.
Changan Auto is regarded as one of the top four Chinese car makers, producing two million cars a year and working in other joint ventures with the likes of Ford, PSA Peugeot Citroen and Suzuki.
The firm previously made headlines for selling the LandWind CV9, a car that took clear design inspiration from the Vauxhall Frontera and was briefly sold in Europe, until poor Euro NCAP crash tests forced its withdrawal from sale.
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