As Jaguar Landrover once again takes legal action against Chinese maker of X7 over what it alleges is a copycat of its Evoque, MATILDA FRANCES looks at how similar are the two machines and likelihood of JLR getting justice in China.
“If I were a Judge, looking at the two cars, I should instantly hit my gabble on the desk: GUILTY!!”, reacted a media colleague, Frank Boyede, after merely spotting the photographs of Range Rover Evoque and that of Jiangling’s Landwind X7 Fascinating.
[dropcap]L[/dropcap]et us begin this way: Land Rover and Land Wind. Checking the last part of the two names, Rover is actually of the Wind family. After all, wind does rove.
Had the maker of X7, an obvious clone of Range Rover Evoque stopped at corporate name cloning, Jaguar LandRover would probably not have been bothered.
But placing Q7 side by side with Evoque, there is no physical difference. Landwind X7 and Range Rover Evoque sounds almost the same, which is still not a problem. But checking the two cars at close range, apart from different badges, they are like automobile siemens twins.
What went wrong? Or should one say what went right? Did Jiangling company use the same car designer?
“I hope Nigerians have not been sold Q7 with an Evoque badge,” said a staff of Coscharis Motors Nigeria, who would not want to be mentioned, in a telephone chat with Motoring World’s Editor-in-chief, Femi Owoeye, at the weekend.
“But then, I have no pity for any victim, for everybody knows that Coscharis is the nation’s representative of Jaguar Landrover in Nigeria. So if anyone goes for grey import and end up with Q7 with an Evoque badge that is his or her problem.”
When Jaguar LandRover found out the similarity in 2015, it went to court in China and the case was thrown out. For the second time, according to a Reuters’ report, the British luxury auto maker has again headed for court, hoping to get a redress this time, for the two vehicles are too similar for comfort.
But how far could Jaguar LandRover (JLR) go with this case? Would it get desired justice? Unfortunately, being China, it may not. And if anything, it might take a decade, just as the case of Honda which had a similar case with a Chinese company that copied its C-RV. It asked for 300 million Yuan, but ended up getting only 16 million Yuan after over a decade.
What would be JLD’s strong point? Its lawyer would have to dwell on similarities and also what it has lost within the period Evoque had been cloned. More so, the fact that X7 could be sold by fraudsters as Evoque, simply by replacing Q7 with Evoque badge could be additional strong point.
Indeed, the two SUVs are shaped the same way. As reported by Reuters, both cars have their roof and windows tapering from front to back, and near identical tail lights and character lines on the side paneling.
But with a more detailed inspection, it was found out that X7’s front grille is slightly more rounded than the hard edges of the Evoque.
Still looking at differences, an Autocar’s reporter at the 2015 Guangzhou motor show confirmed that the X7 has reasonable quality leathers and soft plastics for a Chinese car. However, he observed, X7 comes with irregular panel and bubbling paintwork on corners.
“Furthermore,” observed the reporter, “the gaps of the rear doors and boot were neither regular nor flush with the sides.”
Also the X7 is larger than Evoque by over 5cm. Its wheelbase is 1cm longer than that of Evoque. And in terms of power, X7 is powered by 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine delivering 188bhp mated to a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic gear box, as against Chinese made Evoque, which is also powered by 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine but with 237bhp mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission.
Inside, X7’s infotainment has a touch-screen that is wider than that of Evoque. Though Q7 has not gone through Euroncap Crash test, analysts are suggesting that when it comes to safety, Q7 may not score anything close to Evoque, which scored 4 points over 5 in Euroncap crash test.
This will be an interesting case, in which, if Jaguar LandRover succeeds this time, many other auto makers, whose vehicles had in the past been cloned in China, might be encouraged to head for Chinese courts for justice.
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