Landwind X7
Range Rover Evoque

Land Rover sues Chinese car maker over Range Rover Evoque 'clone'

The landmark case could encourage other brands to take action against copycats in China

THE CHINESE maker of the Landwind X7 has been served with “newly filed actions surrounding copyright and unfair competition” over the alleged cloning of the Range Rover Evoque, according to reports.

Jaguar Land Rover says the similarities between its best-selling Evoque and Landwind amount to theft of intellectual property and is suing for compensation. Revealed at the Guangzhou motor show in November 2014, the X7 is strikingly similar to the Evoque — to the point where a casual observer may struggle to tell them apart — although some argue that such imitations are one of the hazards that western firms face when doing business in China, where copyright laws are less rigorously enforced.

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Ralf Speth, chief executive of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), claimed at the time of X7’s launch that Jiangling Motors had committed intellectual property theft and promised that JLR would take steps to protect its design.

The legal action is seen as a landmark case that may spur other car makers to take action against Chinese companies they accuse of cloning. Foreign companies have been reluctant to pursue legal action in China, where winning against local firms is fraught with risk, has arguably slim chance of success and where Chinese buyers might see established brands as bullying small domestic outfits.

Chinese drivers can buy an imported Evoque for about £56,000, but JLR has teamed up with another Chinese manufacturer, Chery, to build and sell Evoques in the country for around £40,000. The Landwind is on sale for around £14,000.

The question for some British drivers may now be, “How can I import one?”