They say imitation is the best form of flattery and the Range Rover Evoque has faced little competition let alone imitators since it was launched in 2011.
Not any more.
Unfortunately named Chinese car maker, Landwind, has quite literally cloned its way into the hearts and minds of every potential Range Rover Evoque buyer in China with its Landwind X7.
The Landwind X7 is obviously a blatant copy of the Range Rover Evoque and is reputed to cost around the equivalent of £14k in China. The Landwind X7 isn’t just a knock-off its being offered at a knock down price compared to the Evoque’s £40k cost.
Chief executive of Jaguar Land Rover, Dr Ralf Speth, told Autocar magazine: ‘The fact that this kind of copying is ongoing in China is very disappointing. The intellectual property (IP) is owned by Jaguar Land Rover and if you break that IP then you are in breach of international regulations.’
So why doesn’t JLR sue? There a few reasons, the main one being is that most manufacturing facilities in China are run by ex-communist party members and most probably have current members of The Politburo of the Central Committee on the board of directors.
In other words Landwind is effectively controlled by the communist state, and if Dr Ralph logged a formal compliant with the ruling party it would be seen as showing disrespect to his hosts.
After all Jaguar Land Rover have been granted access by China to make and sell its products and perhaps JLR doesn’t want to see a potential Chinese windfall lost to a ‘silly’ little dispute over IP ownership.
So JLR will have to grin and bear it, the best they can do is pass dirty looks over at Landwind. There is a sting in this story, Landwind’s parent company is Changan Motors and Jiangling Motors. Both are volume car manufactures within China, but the real sting is that Jiangling is 49 percent owned by Ford.
Who would bet against Ford privately thinking of the best way to throw a spanner into the ambitions of JLR’s money spinning Chinese venture is too sell Evoque clones.
Looks like Land Rover will always be under the shadow of its former owners in one way or another. God we love Communism.