The British car manufacturer, Jaguar Land Rover, is suing its Chinese counterpart Jiangling Motor for allegedly copying their Range Rover Evoque model. This is an almost unprecedented move in the automobile industry.
A spokesman from JLR said in an email to Reuters that a court in Beijing’s Chaoyang district “served Jiangling with newly filed actions surrounding copyright and unfair competition.”
The car in question here is Landwind X7 SUV. Evoque is JLR’s Chinese model that went on sale last year. It is a general tradition among foreign automakers in China to ignore the local copies, as they feel that the odds of them winning against a local competitor is low. Being involved in a lawsuit can be bad for the brand if the local public start believing that a foreign company is bullying a local.
If JLR wins this case, it could act as a precedent to other foreign makers in the country, which is why this case has aroused so much interest and is pivotal. The impact of this could change the outlook of the entire industry in China. There is indeed a stark resemblance between the cars in question. The X7 SUV is similar in shape, with the roof block tapers from front to back in both cars and the tail lights are also identical. The slight physical difference is in the front fascia, where the X7 has a smooth transition as opposed to the sharp edges of the Evoque.
The fact that the X7 costs about one-third of Evoque creates the biggest problem for JLR. This is one of the reasons that JLR sales fell by 20% in the Q4 of FY 2014-15. Previously it took 12 years to win a case against a local company for copying its SUV CR-V. The amount of time, efforts, and money put in is rarely considered worth the effort by international companies.