JAC 4R3 pickup is latest in Chinese knock-off cars

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JAC, a Chinese car company, has announced the 4R3, a carbon copy of the Ford F-150. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

There are knock-off brands of all sorts of things made in all sorts of countries. For instance, China is known for producing knock-off car brands like the recently debuted JAC pickup truck, which is a near carbon-copy of a Ford F150.

Work truck for masses copied from work truck for masses

According to AutoBlog, the Jianghuai Auto Corporation has just revealed the JAC 4R3, a pickup truck which JAC wants to be able to sell as an affordable work truck in China, South America and Africa. The truck is powered by a 108 horsepower, 2.8-liter four-cylinder diesel engine. The price hasn’t been announced and the carmaker is going to debut it at the Beijing Motor Show.

Unfortunately, as AutoBlog points out, JAC is probably going to debut it not to fanfare, but to a subpoena. The truck is almost a blatant copy of the Ford F150 pickup truck, down to even a blue oval in the middle of the front grill. JAC, a small car company in China, specializes in re-bodied vehicles.

Copies of everything

According to The Economist, a saying in Shanghai goes that “We can copy anything except your mother.” Numerous car companies in China have been found blatantly copying other car companies’ vehicles, down to everything but the badge.

[Nothing but a real BMW can be found in Houston TX]

For instance, according to the Daily Mail, there was the Geely GE, an almost complete copy of a Rolls Royce Phantom, which Geely showed off in 2009. It’s a little shorter, has a much less powerful engine, but looks almost the same, including a winged lady as a hood ornament which looks similar to the “Spirit of Ecstasy” found on a Rolls. Geely, according to MotorTrend, redesigned the car and avoided a lawsuit.

Chery Automobile Company, according to Bloomberg, put out a subcompact car called the QQ, which was a near-total copy of the Daewoo Matiz. Daewoo, a GM subsidiary, sued Chery in 2004. The QQ looks almost exactly like the Matiz and the doors from a Matiz fit on the QQ.

Lower cost alternatives

There are plenty of other examples that have been found and other lawsuits that were brought. The universal thread has been that the Chinese copies are much cheaper than the real thing. The above mentioned Geely GE was about one-eighth the cost of the Phantom. The JAC 4R3 will likely be no exception; the Ford F150 costs more than $20,000 in the U.S. That’s more than most families make in some of the countries JAC aims to sell the 4R3 in.

That said, obviously car makers aren’t happy if anyone copies their cars. According to Drive.com, an Australian counterpart to AutoTrader and Cars.com, a Rolls Royce executive was asked if Rolls were “flattered” by the Geely, as “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” The response was that “We are certainly not flattered by this.”



Daily Mail


MotorTrend: http://wot.motortrend.com/2010-beijing-geelys-new-ge-and-tx4-taxi-8426.html

Drive: http://www.drive.com.au/Editorial/ArticleDetail.aspx?ArticleID=62401&vf=26

The Economist: http://www.economist.com/node/8961838

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