Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Or is it? When it comes to car designs, the last thing the automakers want to see is somebody making another version of the car they had already made. Unfortunately, it does happen – a lot more often than you would think. We agree that it is hard not to get influenced by other people’s design, but that doesn’t mean that copying it is in any way ok. After all, creativity and innovation are what every new product should be about – and cars are no exception.
However, over the years, we have seen some car designs that look suspiciously similar to the cars we had seen before. Was it really a coincidence or were some of those instances actually cases of automotive plagiarism? It is hard to know for sure, but there it makes you think. After all, it sounds pretty hard to believe that two cars can turn out almost the same by a shire coincidence, doesn’t it?
So without further ado, let’s take a look at 20 car designs that look plagiarized. You can decide for yourself whether or not those vehicles are actually knockoffs or if they were original designs just slightly resembling other designs out there.
20 Bentley Continental Flying Spur/Lincoln Continental Concept
While the Lincoln Continental Concept looks more than great, the similarity between this vehicle and Bentley Continental Flying Spur is undeniable. Once this concept was unveiled, Luc Donckerwolke, Bentley’s chief designer decided to publically comment on it by posting on Lincoln designer’s Facebook wall: “Do you want us to send the product tooling?”
It is hard to believe though that Lincoln would try to plagiarize someone else’s work, simply because their vehicles are usually designed almost to perfection.
No need to rip off other people’s designs when you are obviously more than capable of coming up with great designs by yourself.
19 Porsche 944/Nissan 300ZX Z53
Back in the ‘80s, Porsche 944 was one of the hip cars. However, Porsche being Porsche, not everybody could afford it. At least until Nissan came up with a cheaper version of it - Nissan 300ZX Z53. The resemblance was striking and undeniable. Motor1 reports: “The (Porsche’s) intercooled 2.5-liter, four-cylinder spat out 217 horsepower, 243 lb-ft of torque, and would rocket the limber Porsche to 60 mph in around six seconds… One of the 944’s cheaper rivals from across the Pacific was the turbocharged Nissan 300ZX. The 300ZX sported 3.0 liters and 200 horsepower from its V6 engine, capable of zipping the Nissan from zero to 60 mph in seven seconds.”
18 1969 Ford Mustang/1973 Toyota Celica Liftback
While the front part of 1973 Toyota Celica Liftback looked suspiciously similar to Chevrolet Camaro, the rear design’s originality was even more up to the discussion with its striking resemblance to the 1969 Ford Mustang.
Copying the design of a car as popular as the Ford Mustang was probably not a good idea because it seems highly unlikely for people not to notice the resemblance between the two.
After all, they do look almost identical, don’t they? Is it really possible that Toyota wasn’t influenced by Mustang’s design and that it was all just one big coincidence? Seems pretty unlikely, doesn’t it?
17 Mercedes E-Class W210/Kia Amanti
Kia today is one of the most popular car brands worldwide. In fact, according to some recent reviews and research, Kia is one of the cars with the best quality-price ratio. And while there are many new Kia designs that we all love, back in 2010, Kia tried to copy Mercedes E-Class W210’s design with their Kia Amanti. Not a good idea. The resemblance between the designs was undeniable, however, Amanti’s features and performance was nowhere near Mercedes’ level. Luckily, they have learned from their mistakes and decided to go with their own new creative designs. Let’s just hope it stays that way.
16 Hummer H1/Dongfeng EQ2050
When talking about Hummer and Dongfeng, there is a bit of the history that we have to know to understand the whole story. TheDrive explains: “While AM General did, for a time, license its Hummer H1 civilian design to Chinese manufacturer Dongfeng, that license expired years ago. Still, Dongfeng’s production line has been humming merrily ever since, producing carbon copies of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s favorite truck.” It appears that the Dongfeng designers weren’t notified about the fact that the cooperation between these two brands had ended. Even that or this is another classic example of automotive plagiarism. What do you think?
15 Rolls-Royce Phantom/Geely GE
If you are not too familiar with Geely, it is a Chinese automaker that owns Volvo. But you are definitely familiar with Rolls-Royce, aren’t you? Well, if you are going to try and copy someone else’s work, you might as well go big and copy the best of the best.
And that is precisely what Geely did with their GE that looks almost exactly the same as Rolls-Royce Phantom.
However, they botched the job a little bit. TheDrivewrote: “But the Chinese company couldn't stick the landing; while details are important—like the fiber-optic ‘Starlight’ roof ripped right from the Roller—proportions are what truly matter on an ultra-luxury limousine. Sadly, the Geely GE has the proportions of a chicken coop.”
14 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque/Landwind X7
Land Rover Range Rover Evoque was a big hit when it first hit the market. It had everything people needed; from great design to awesome performance. So other automaker thought it would be a good idea to put a copy on the market. TheDrive explains: “When the Range Rover Evoque was released, any worries about a citified Rangie evaporated: It was stylish, nimble and luxurious. Sales have been excellent. Hoping to cash in, Jiangling Motors Co. launched its ‘Land Wind’ brand—and with it, the X7, a near-carbon copy of the Evoque for a third of the price.” However, it is hard to appreciate a vehicle when it is so obvious it is other vehicle’s copy.
13 Lifan 320/Mini Cooper
Out of all plagiarized vehicles out there, this case of plagiarism is one of the most painfully obvious. AutoEvolution reports: “The resemblance is not limited to the exterior feature neither. Going inside, you'll also notice the dashboard to look extremely familiar, especially if you own a MINI. It's true, the Speedometer is located behind the steering wheel but the dash has almost the same design as the classic Cooper.” On the outside, Lifan borrowed some elements from the popular Fiat 500 as well, probably to make Lifan 320 at least a little bit different from the Mini Cooper. Not different enough though.
12 Infiniti G37 Coupe/Hyundai Genesis Coupe
If you saw the Infiniti G37 Coupe and Hyundai Genesis Coupe side by side, you would need a moment to realize which is which. These two vehicles look so much alike it takes a moment to actually see that it is not the same car. But, for the record, Infiniti G37 Coupe hit the market 1 year before the Hyundai Genesis Coupe.
However, the most obvious difference between the two is the price tag with Hyundai costing around $10,000 more than Infiniti G37.
Edmunds reports: “Let's not mess around; the price of entry for both of these machines is considerable. The G37's is just far more considerable, that's all. But the Infiniti also has the more impressive specs of the two. Its 3.7-liter V6 is rated at 330 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque.”
11 Nissan GT-R/NATS GT-K
Do you remember Dr. Evil and Mini-Me? Well, in the car world that would be Nissan GT-R / NATS GT-K. However, this might be one of the worst cases of plagiarism we have seen in the car industry because NATS GT-K is simply a really bad car. The performance is off, the design is ridiculous since it looks like a shrunk version of Nissan GT-R, and everything else about this vehicle is just wrong. Jalopnik wrote: “That bodywork will make you beg for the firey destruction of the world to come quickly. Really, the NATS GT-K is the worst thing we've ever seen offered as a serious product. We need to lay down until nausea passes.”
10 Great Wall Coolbear/Toyota Scion xB
If you have always liked Toyota Scion xB but didn’t have $16,000 spare to buy it, you can now get Great Wall Coolbear at exactly half the price. That is if you don’t mind that your car is obviously a knockoff. Not only are those 2 vehicles somewhat similar – they are almost completely identical. CNN Money reports: “Don't let the unusual (and adorable) name of Great Wall's wagon fool you into thinking it's a novelty: the Coolbear, which debuted in 2006, shares the same boxy design as Toyota's Scion xB (the Chinese car has a 1.5 liter engine, vs. the Scion's 2.4L). Great Wall, a big player in China, is ambitious: It currently ships cars to over 70 countries.”
9 Shuanghuan Noble/Mercedes Smart Fortwo
Smart has been crazy popular all over the globe since it was first introduced. After all, it is a perfect city car; small, compact, easy to park, and it has a pretty cool performance for such a tiny car.
So with all that in mind, Shuanghuan decided to copy the popular Smart and make their own version of it.
CNN Money reports: “The Chinese carmaker starting selling the Noble, a near-identical version of Mercedes' fuel-efficient compact car, at home this year. Mercedes hasn't tried to stop Shanghuan yet - but that may change when the German automaker starts shipping Fortwos to China next spring.”
8 Chery QQ/Chevy Matiz 0.8S
Back in the days, Chinese automaker and their biggest independent seller of passenger cars, Chery, decided to make their own Chevy Matiz 0.8S (also known as Daewoo Matiz). However, things didn’t really go unnoticed nor did they go as smoothly as Chery had probably hoped. According to CNN Money, “GM sued Chery in 2004, claiming that, although the Chinese-made model had a smaller engine, the doors on the two cars were interchangeable. The case settled, but Chery still sells the car in China and Latin America. The Chinese carmaker, however, agreed not to market its cars in the United States using the Chery name.”
7 Shuanghuan CEO/BMW X5
The similarity between Shuanghuan CEO and BMW X5 is undeniable – and the court of law actually ruled CEO a knockoff and forbade Shuanghuan from selling this vehicle in Germany after when BMW sued them. CNN Money wrote: “The designers at Shuanghuan must be fans of the German automaker: The popular Chinese carmaker's CEO sports utility vehicle looks a lot like BMW's X5. The CEO, which was unveiled in 2006, sports a 100-horsepower, four-cylinder engine (the BMW has either six cylinders or a V8).” One of the few differences between these two vehicles is definitely the price tag; X5 costs $45,000-$53,000 while CEO’s price tag is at $19,000.
6 BYD F8/Mercedes CLK
When you first look at BYD F8, you are going to need a second to realize it is actually a BYD and not the Mercedes CLK.
It is unbelievable how much these two vehicles look alike.
According to CNN Money, “The F8, which BYD intends to start selling in China this winter, sports the same grill as the German carmaker's CLK, but the back looks like a Renault Megane CC. Unlike the CLK, which comes with a V-6 or V-8, the F8 has a front-drive 4-cylinder engine.” Another significant difference is the price tag since you can get an F8 for $27,000-$29,000 while the CLK will cost you $47,000-$62,000.
5 1982 Cedric Turbo Brougham/1980 Rolls-Royce Silver Spur
The 1982 Cedric Turbo Brougham looks like a poorly executed, not nearly as luxurious version of the 1980 Rolls-Royce Silver Spur and the similarity is undeniable. But on the other hand, who wouldn’t want to own a Rolls-Royce of their own? Or at least a cheaper version of something that looks like a Rolls-Royce if you squint your eyes and look at it in the dark. From the big rectangular headlamps through the angular hood to the upright vertical grille, it is pretty hard to believe that 1982 Cedric Turbo Brougham was actually an original design rather than just another rip-off.
4 1973 Nissan Skyline GT-R/1970 AMC AMX
If you ever see a 1973 Nissan Skyline GT-R and a 1970 AMC AMX side by side, try to spot the differences. We dare you. The two cars like so much alike it takes a moment to realize those are actually two different models by two different manufacturers. TheDrive reports: “Fanboys howl for the delicate, first-generation Skyline GT-R of 1969-72 or the flare-fendered twin-turbocharged third-generation R32 of 1989-1994. But we have always had a soft spot for the angular short-lived second-generation car (only four months in production). Maybe because it looks like the American muscle cars of our early childhood, especially the 1970 AMC AMX.”
3 Suzuki Cappuccino/Mazda Miata NB
Suzuki Cappuccino seems to be an itty bitty version of Mazda Miata NB. In fact, at the first glance, the tiny Cappuccino looks almost like a toy car modelled after the Miata NB.
However, when we look at both cars’ specs, we notice all the difference, especially when it comes to the cars’ strength and power.
CarThrottle reports: “The car (Cappuccino) had perfect 50/50 weight distribution and weighed just 725kg - a whole 215kg lighter than the Mk1 MX-5. This low weight was primarily due to the fact that there wasn’t very much car to start with, and the fact that Suzuki made the car’s bonnet, roof, roll-bar and front fenders out of aluminium.”
2 Kia Optima GT/Hyundai Sonata Premium
Kia and Hyundai have been rivals since the beginning of their days and there is no doubt there is some serious competition going on between the two brands. However, when you take a look at some of their models, you will also notice a striking resemblance. Just look atKia Optima GT and Hyundai Sonata Premium side by side and you will know exactly what we’re talking about. CarAdvicewrote: “These two mid-sized sedans are priced within $2000 of one another, with the Kia – surprisingly – the dearer of the two. But as has been the case with the rivalry between the two makers over recent years, one has a few different tricks up its sleeve over the other, despite essentially being twins under the skin.”
1 Ford F150/JAC 4R3
Since Ford F150 is one of the best-selling pickups trucks of all time, it makes sense that somebody tried to copy that design and earn some money for themselves. JAC 4R3 is a very obvious Ford F150 copy although nowhere near as high in quality as the original. The Chinese company JAC Motors has produced only commercial trucks in the past, but in 2010, they started making MPVs and SUVs. Today, they have models spanning from small city cars to commercial trucks so it is only logical they decided to throw a pickup in the mix. The only problem with that was that the pickup’s design was so obviously copied.
Sources: TheDrive.com, Motor1.com, AutoEvolution.com