The Chinese car industry’s outrageously blatant copy-cat approach to design is probably the thing most Brits still associate it with. And whilst there are vast swathes of evidence at Beijing to point to the fact that the Chinese are finding the confidence and the motivation to be more original, the shameless rip-offs also didn’t disappoint.
My pick of them was the rather striking JAC Heyue SC. It wasn’t a rip-off of just one car - I spotted about four.
Ironically, JAC has managed to get Lotus’s new design language to production faster than Lotus, as you will see from the rather Esprit-like front end. Although I’m not sure whether that was intentional or whether it came about accidentally as there has also been some liberal borrowing from the Lamborghini Gallardo’s portfolio, particularly in the sharp side air intakes.
Weirdly (undoubtedly by chance rather than design) the amalgamation is oddly reminiscent of the Fiat Coupe from the front.
Meanwhile, Ferrari may have something to say about the California-esque lights and posterior of the new JAC coupe. There hasn’t even been the vague remodelling that has warped the other design elements; it’s outright style theft back there.
To be honest, I think the result is one of the more successful of China’s copy-and-paste efforts, and would be quite intrigued to know what the 2.4-litre, rear-drive coupe is like to drive.
Regardless, it must be a breathtakingly galling thing to endure for those companies and designers who penned the originals. It’ll be interesting to see whether Chinese car design moves away from it altogether as the native industry continues its break-neck expansion, though I doubt it will disappear altogether anytime soon.