Jiangling in copycat suit

Chinese automaker, Jiangling Motor, is under fire from Jaguar Land Rover over allegations that it copied the Range Rover Evoque.

The Landwind X7 (top) and Range Rover's Evoque (bottom)

The Landwind X7 (top) and Range Rover’s Evoque (bottom)

Jaguar Land Rover will sue the automaker, in a rare move to fight copycats in the world’s largest auto market. A spokesperson for Jaguar says that Jiangling had been served “with newly filed actions surrounding copyright and unfair competition”.

The suit alleges that Jiangling’s Landwind X7 SUV, which costs around a third of the price of an Evoque, copied Jaguar’s design. The two SUVs have similar shapes, although the X7’s front grille is slightly more rounded than the Evoques.

However, the slight differences can be virtually eliminated using kits that allow a Range Rover grille, logo and badges to be put on an X7. The widely available kits cost around $27.

The two automakers will discuss what Landwind can, and can’t, do in future X7 design updates.

Legal action in China from global automakers is rare, as they feel the odds of winning a case against local firms are low. Lawsuits can also affect branding, if the Chinese public feels a foreign company is bullying domestic competitors.

Should Jaguar win its case, it may prompt other automakers to take legal action and speed a shift to stronger enforcement of intellectual property rights.