Flattery? The Fake Chinese Land Rover Evoque

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 2/01/2015 01:30:00 AM
If the man on the street can't tell the difference, why not pay less than a third for the fake?
The previous post on Chinese authorities "cracking down" on Alibaba for allegedly being lenient towards intellectual property violators jogged my memory about this post I planned to write but forgot somewhere down the line. The Land Rover Evoque has been a hit sports-utility vehicle (SUV) the world over with its stylish appearance and the prestigious Land Rover badge--including in China. It was probably only a matter of time, then, that someone thought of making a nearly-indistiguishable copy. In the image above, which is the real Evoque and which is the fake? (It's the one below.)

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the Chinese are very sincere indeed. Anyway, on to the story:
Land Rover is weighing up its options in regards to the new Landwind X7 SUV, which appears to be a very close copy of the Range Rover Evoque, one of Land Rover's best-selling models. The Landwind X7 had its global debut at the 2014 Guangzhou Auto Show last week and Land Rover's most senior employee, CEO Ralph Speth, is none too pleased. "The fact that this kind of copying is ongoing in China is very disappointing," Land Rover's CEO told UK-based Autocar.

Although it's unlikely much will be achieved within China, where the Landwind X7 is now on sale for about one third the price of a Chinese-built Evoque, Speth is not going down without a fight to protect the company's intellectual property (IP). "The simple principle 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," stated Speth.
The funny thing is, there are no real remedial actions Jaguar-Land Rover (JLR) can take in present-day China to contest their intellectual property rights. Where is the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) in this case? An oddity is that JLR has a deal with Chinese automaker Chery to build copies there. Would Chery be better able to enforce JLR's IP rights? If not, JLR's best hope may be to limit export sales of the knock-offs absent any real action it can take in the PRC:
Legal action is unlikely, and virtually impossible within China, as most major companies are have partial government-ownership. The best Land Rover can hope for is that the vehicle is not exported to one of the Evoque's major markets.

The plot looks set to thicken however, as Land Rover has formed an alliance with Chery Automobile in China, which means the Range Rover Evoque is also built on the Chinese mainland by said company. Essentially, Chinese motorists can choose to buy the Landwind X7 for around $A23,000 (120,000 yuan), or the Range Rover Evoque for roughly $A76,000 (400,000 yuan), both of which look virtually identical "I will talk to our officials and I will talk to our partners at Chery to find a way around this situation," the Land Rover CEO said in relation to both cars being offered in China.
Lip service aside, I do not think the Chinese are making any strides in enforcing intellectual property at all. Sure the PRC can bash Alibaba for political reasons, but I do not really think this represents a crackdown on fakes given the ready availability of knock-off cars and virtually everything else on the streets of major cities.