The Thursday 5: Best and worst Chinese car knock-offs
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Five best/worst Chinese design knock-offs
Shrewdly foreseeing the need for a Mini with more doors, Lifan stuck a crude, half-melted Mini nose on a generic early-90s small Japanese hatch body to create the 320. Who says car design needs to be a long, drawn-out process? Certainly not the designers at Lifan.
Bamin 1020 KHA
Bamin State Autoworks produced this brilliant Mercedes-Benz W123 rip off, building it on the same platform as a small truck! If you look closely, you will see that the 1020 KHA is actually a four-door ute. No one ever said you had to stick to the same segment as the car you were ripping off, after all...
DongFeng Crazy Soldier
Several Chinese companies were in the running to buy Hummer from General Motors back when the American company was desperate to get rid of it. Perhaps the sale fell through because they realised that already had an exact copy of it, but with a much, much better name.
The Crazy Soldier (“crazy” apparently meaning “fearless”) is literally an exact copy of a Hummer - in 1988 AM General demonstrated a then-new M998 HMMWV (what would become commonly known as the Hummer) at the Beijing Defence Exhibition and reportedly left it in China after the exhibition. Wonder what happened to it?
Of course, by “redesigned” we mean “made everything a bit rounder” in order to placate Rolls’ legal watchdogs. Now it just looks like a drastically over-inflated Phantom instead of an exact knock-off of one.
BMW sued and the CEO was banned in Germany as a result. But BMW lost the court case in Italy, so the lucky Italians can still buy them...