We need to talk about the Beijing Auto BJ80. Sigh. You’d have seen it; it’s China’s unwelcome answer to the old Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6x6.

It’s a wholly unnecessary clone that will make for one of the talking points of the Beijing motor show, and not because there’s little to nothing Mercedes-Benz can do about it since Beijing Auto is a joint venture partner of Mercedes and that apple cart will not want to be rocked.

Why it’s disappointing is because it feels like such a backward step for the Chinese car industry. In the Autocar still on sale this week in print, and in an article soon to appear online, Greg Kable runs us through the complete A-Z of the Chinese car industry.

What’s revealed is an industry of huge progression and now innovation, particularly in the field of electrification, with more than one eye on leading the global car industry, not merely imitating and catching up with it.

So such copycat designs – those made famous through the likes of Landwind’s Range Rover Evoque rip-off and Zoyte’s Porsche Macan clone – already feel like they are from a bygone era.

Half a dozen years ago, Chinese cars all felt like Honda Civics from the 1980s.