Is there anything the Chinese don't produce? There's literally a knockoff version for almost any top brand and anything under the sun for that matter. You can get a HiPhone for communication, watch China's Next Top Model if you fancy some fashion reality TV, eat Borios with some cold milk while you're at it, or wear your own pair of Deats by Nani if you want to unwind to your favorite music playlist. As if that's not enough, you can head off to Sunbucks for a fresh cuppa coffee and kickstart your day or go for an evening jog in a cool pair of Mike sneakers. For diehard gamers, there's no excuse for missing out on the action; get an Xboy, and you're good to go. Gearheads haven't been left out either because the Chinese have their own versions of top car brands, whether its a Porsche lookalike that you want, a Jaguar, a Land Rover, whatever it is—you need it, they've got it. And if you also want (or demand for it), you know they got your back—they'll make it happen! Somehow, they understand the 'fake it till you make it' concept and that everyone has a dream, so why not be the proverbial 'Santa' and give everyone something that's close to what they really want? That's a whole new level of delayed gratification right there. It's not quite delayed; just a little bit. But hey... you've got to start somewhere, right? Here are 15 Chinese knockoffs that rock, and 5 that we can't spend a dime on.
20 Preferred: Landwind X7
This car was first unveiled at the Guangzhou’s Motor Show in 2014 and is a knockoff of the Range Rover. It’s so easy to mistake it for the real thing if you don’t have a keen eye, especially because it resembles the Evoque model in everything from the shape of the body, the radiator grille, the lights, and even the silver logo. For just a fraction of the original’s price, which is about 40,000 pounds, you can get the Landwind X7 for just 14,000 pounds, says MyCarConnector. Land Rover weren’t happy with this to the extent that they filed a suit in court, but they lost the case, sadly. This car has the Mitsubishi-sourced 4G63T engine mated with either a 6-speed manual or an 8-speed auto—not bad if you just want affordable swag.
19 Preferred: Geely GE
This is the car of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Just in case you were thinking this is a Rolls-Royce Phantom, this is actually the knockoff version. The "GE" in "Geely GE" is an acronym for "Geely Excellence," and this car was created by Geely Automobile, who displayed it at the 2010 Shanghai Auto Show.
The car costs about $44,000, which is the equivalent of a Mercedes-Benz C-class coupe. The car resembles the RR when it comes to the temple grille and the exterior, plus they even put a flying lady on the bonnet (yikes!).
Then, there’s the pure wool carpet, the massage seats, the subdued lighting, and a wine cabinet. RR also sued the Chinese over this one. Apparently, Motoring.com.au says the Chinese carmaker was ‘set to unveil its revised GE limo,’ and from the pics, the new one looks nothing like a blatant RR knockoff, so the criticism must've paid off. If the Chinese president rides in this one, it must be good.
18 Preferred: BAIC B70
BAIC, or Beijing Auto Industry Corporation, created this B70 model which they copied from the Jeep Wrangler, though it's based on their own 3-door B40 SUV. While it may not look aesthetically as good as the real thing, they share similar features from the square wheel arches, the exposed door hinges, a removable roof, and black rear-quarter sections, as described by MyCarConnector. Probably the only thing that’s a bit off but kinda similar – in fact, it's what makes you quickly think of the Jeep – is the B70’s five-bar radiator grille, which is slightly off the seven-bar grille on the Jeep Wrangler. Otherwise, it has good off-road capabilities, and you can get it in either a 2.0- or a 2.5-liter engine option, both mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox.
17 Preferred: Geely Emgrand EC6-RV
Meet the Emgrand EC6-RV, a car with the body and the looks of a Mini Cooper but the heart of a Suzuki Swift. The Chinese created this combo of what we know as two city cars, something no one would've probably imagined would work, but they made it a reality. Geely, the company that's responsible for this, insisted it isn’t a cheap copycat with simple features and that the car features qualities that make for a safe ride yet still offer ample convenience.
They borrowed the Swift’s rooftop, as well as the upper and lower character lines, while the interior, according to Chinaautoweb features 'G-Netlink telematics, CAN bus technology, one-touch start (intelligent key) and many airbags' for safety and security.
It also comes in two engine options: 1.5-liter and turbocharged 1.3-liter, both mated with either 6MT or DCT, plus ground grip courtesy of the car’s wheelbase of about 2461mm–all in this little body.
16 Preferred: BAIC B90
After the success of other clones like the BAIC B40 and B70, the Chinese, Car News China says, have continued churning other car blends. This BAIC B90 was produced with the intention of catching up with competitors such as Jiangling Motors and Changan Auto and is a copy of the Range Rover and Jeep Grand Cherokee. The blend led to the production of an AWD mid-size SUV with a wheelbase of 2,800 mm and is 4,780 mm long, 1850 mm wide, and 1975 mm tall. It also has two optional engines: 2.4- and 4.0-liter. This car with a body-on-frame structure has double wishbones for its front suspension and a lot of links in the rear. If you think a Range is too expensive, then try the B90 that provides a wonderful driving experience.
15 Preferred: Haima M2 C-sport
"HaiMa" is an acronym for "Hainan Automotive," and its cars are mostly based on old Mazda models from the Chinese Japanese joint venture with Mazda that Car News China says were 'made for the Chinese market.' However, Hainan broke off and went solo, even building this M2 C-sports model, which is an escapee of the previous venture with Mazda. The car resembles the Mazda 2 from the hood design and the headlights, but its engine is either a 1.3- or a 1.4-liter that ensures it gets enough air to keep it moving. The C-sport also has more plastics on its body, making it quite slower than standard, and also have bigger wheel arches but is lower on its feet.
14 Preferred: Dadi Shuttle BYD F8
China gave the world an official identical twin to Toyota’s Land Cruiser Prado in this SUV dubbed the "Dadi Shuttle." They’re so alike, you wonder why the Chinese weren’t sued for breaching copyrights, but the reason is simple: they don't want to lose the Chinese Automotive market by going against the Chinese government. The Dadi's front is so similar to that of the Land Cruiser Prado, but the sides resemble the Honda CR-V. It's powered by 2.8-liter Isuzu engine that produces 57kW at 3,600 rpm and 174 Nm of torque at 2,000 rpm, while the Malaysian model is fitted with Mitsubishi 2.4-liter engines and has a top speed of roughly 120 km/h. The engine isn't a turbo-diesel but a direct injection, with power transmitted to the rear wheel, though it can do four-wheel part-time.
13 Preferred: BYD F8
If you thought Mercedes were off the hook, think again. The Chinese, apparently, don't troll–they just don’t care. In this car, they made sure their version of the Mercedes SL-class was copied to the letter, hence this BYD F8 model. Clutched says the car has ‘the front of a Mercedes CLK Cabriolet fused with the rear of an Opel Astra Cabriolet.’ China Auto Web says the car is ‘powered by a 103 kW 2.0-liter engine, which does the 0-100 km/h sprint in 14 seconds, and has a top speed of 180 km/h and a fuel capacity of about 50 liters. Strangely, though, Mercedes and BYD formed a partnership to produce electric cars in China–when others would probably sue them instead.
12 Preferred: Huanghai NCV
For this car, the Chinese heavily borrowed designs from both the Pontiac Torrent and the Lexus RX350.
The name may not be as memorable or even as easy to pronounce as Lexus or Pontiac, but that’s what you get from Chinese models.
It's one of those clones they got right in terms of design and looks, and being a hybrid of two other good automotive brands, it's definitely worth the try. But this isn’t the first time, as Hotcars reports that Huanghai has cloned current car models because they did it with the Kia Sorento to create the Huanghai CUV.
11 Preferred: Dongfeng EQ2050
It seems the Chinese leave no stone unturned when it comes to knockoffs, not just with cars but anything that’s probably on demand–but isn’t affordable in the short term. With this Dongfeng EQ2050 (not sure why they give them such complicated names), they copied the American Hummer, which is used mostly by cops, the paramilitary, and the military in China. The car debuted in late 2003 and features reverse engineering from the original car. The first 100 Dongfengs were made from American parts that included the chassis, and Qijing says it's ‘powered by a license-built Cummins EQB150-20 110 kW/2,700R turbocharged diesel engine and an American made V8 diesel.’ Re-designed lights and a radiator were added to differentiate it from the original, and it comes with both a 5-speed gearbox and a 2-speed transfer box.
10 Preferred: Zonda A9
Yes, even buses, lol! So, the Chinese cloned the Neoplan Bus Gmbh’s Starliner to create their own Zonda A9–a product of the Zonda Industrial Group company. It's not a bad thing, though, because then, there are more options for groups to ride in cool and luxurious buses. This bus had some of the highest sales in China, as told by Chinabuses, with the major reason behind its success being the features installed in it. It has good product technology, technique, and performance and for commercial purposes, and the bus provides some good features, which include safety and comfortability, a large luggage boot, and good fuel consumption. The company was later sued in a Beijing court, resulting in a fine of $2.92 million.
9 Preferred: Geely Merrie 300
At first glance, you’d think you actually saw a Mercedes Benz C-class; in fact, you might begin to think your mind's playing tricks on you. But no, you’re fine–it's a clone–from the Chinese. This Chinese ‘Mercedes,’ as people would refer to it, is a five-door hatchback that resembles the sedan due to its protruding trunk.
This car is powered by 1.5L MR479QA I4, and its power is transferred to its wheel through a 5-speed manual transmission.
Merrie has a curb weight of 880 kg (1,940 lbs) - 960 kg (2,116 lbs) with a wheelbase of 2,440 mm (96.1 in). It sells at a base price of between $10,000 and $1,1000, which is so much cheaper than the German C-Class, whose base price ranges from $28,000 to $55,000. Mercedes saw Merrie as a threat, and yes, they sued for copyright infringement.
8 Preferred: BAIC BJ80
We’re sure the Germans saw this one, too! Goodness... these guys will stop at nothing to get their own clones out there. This BAIC BJ80 (G-Wagon sounds a million times better) has all similarities of the Mercedes G-Class from every possible angle except for its Hummer grille. The price of the BJ80, Car News China says, 'ranges from $42,600-44,000,' while the G-Class has a base price of $115,000 or higher. The BJ80 is powered by a 4.0-liter V8 that's mated to a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic that sends power to all its four wheels. The interior isn't that much the same as that of the G-Class; it has a large touchscreen on top of the center stack, lots of wood and leather fittings, and a start button to the right of the steering wheel.
7 Preferred: Fenshen AX4
OMG! They cloned their own! Told you they’ll stop at nothing. So, this Fenshen AX4 is a knockoff of the MG GS, which debuted at the Shanghai Motor Show. Besides copying the MG GS, they also picked a few elements from the Ssang Yong Tivoli and gave the car a 120-horsepower capacity on a 1.5-liter engine. Music and entertainment fans were covered, what with the multiple speakers and the in-vehicle infotainment system inside. Car News China says the crossover hatchback with enormous fog lights and a daring design was ‘aimed at young car buyers and therefore has a lot of weird lines.’ Millennials, there you go!
6 Preferred: Bamin
Another cloned German car! Here's how Driven describes the story of the cloned Mercedes Benz W123 dubbed "Bamin." So, the Chinese Army admired Benzes so much, they built their own, courtesy of their own company—Bamin State Automobile Works or just Bamin Automobile, based in Fujian Province, China. The company started to do business in the late '80s as they operated on a locally licensed variant of the Beijing 212—the Bamin BM212A/BM213A, and its designs were inspired by the W123, which was made beginning 1975. Driven adds that the car was built on "the same platform as a small bus truck, and if you look keenly, the 1020 KHA is a four-door," so clearly, it's not an absolute must you copy everything completely or stick to the same segment. The car had a 2.4-liter four-cylinder producing 73 hp and 172 nm.
5 Can't buy: Chery QQ
This car is a clone of South Korean's old-fashioned Daewoo Matiz but also shares some resemblance in features with Chevrolet’s Spark. Cherry isn't cool enough to attract attention when compared to more advanced cars with better designs and qualities. You won’t expect a lot from the features in this car, given that by the time of its introduction, it was among the cheapest in the market.
This 5-door hatchback comes with two engine options: a 0.8-liter engine and a 1.1-liter engine whose power moves from the engines to the front wheel through its 5-speed transmission.
It also has a sound system that supports two speakers for some good entertainment during the ride.
4 Can't buy: Longer Yuelang X1
Oh no, they didn’t! This looks like a compressed Land Rover Discovery, and apparently, Crazywheels SPB says it has the features of a Range Rover and a little bit of BMW. Longer is a Chinese company that unveiled this low-speed electric vehicle with a Range Rover-style bonnet, grille, headlights, taillights, and bumper in smaller sizes, plus the placement of the Range lettering on its hood, but in its place, they put "OnevRover"–gosh! It also has BMW badges, plastic wood that makes it look sort of like the real thing, and analog dials–one showing speed and the other displaying the power reserves. Inside is an LCD screen with which to play MP4 videos if you need some entertainment.
3 Can't buy: Great Wall Kulla
This car came close to looking exactly like the Renault Twizy, only that the older version wasn't that pretty. Either way, the new version of the two-seater doesn’t impress as much.
Its small size was probably meant for easy maneuvering through China's traffic jams.
The vehicle is powered by an electric motor with 15 hp and 50 nm, which sends its power to the rear wheels. The driver can evade the hassles of pushing the car after every charge by making sure not to exceed a maximum distance of 140 km. Thankfully it's a concept car, unlike the Renault Twizy, which is real.
2 Can't buy: Shuanghuan SCEO
I’m sure you said ‘X5’ when you saw this, and sure enough, they copied the X5 but borrowed some styling from the X3–something that almost got it banned from European roads. Car News China says the car isn't a BMW X5 with a license in China, but it became ‘instantly notorious when it debuted on the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show.’ In fact, this infuriated BMW so much they sued Shanghuan, and consequently, a German court decided it was an illegal copy, so it couldn’t sell in Germany–but it did sell in China, with most buyers opting for a BMW kit–lol. Its current price, Car News China says, starts at 99,800 yuan up to 158,800 yuan, and it comes with three engine options: a 2.5 turbo diesel with 102 hp, a 2.0 petrol with 112 hp, and a 2.4 petrol with 136 hp, with its petrol engines sourced from the famous Shenyang Aerospace Mitsubishi Motors Engine Manufacturing Corporation.
1 Can't buy: Suzhou Eagle Carrie
Now, this is the height of it all. Instead of cloning the Porsche Cayman, they actually created something else, even though there’s some slight semblance. Autoexpress says this car, called the "Eagle," is ‘designed to show off the country’s expertise in producing electric sports cars, but there’s no getting away from which cars the designer took his cues from.’ Apparently, this car is powered by a small battery pack that delivers a top speed of 70 mph or thereabouts, something its looks don’t immediately give off because you’re expecting so much more. Otherwise, Autoexpress adds that it resembles ‘a Porsche Cayman with a Ferrari F12 nose and [is] a near copy of Porsche’s iconic golden shield.’
Sources: caranddriver.com, autoexpress.co.uk, mycarconnector.com, motoring.com.au