Chinese automaker Zotye International, which is known for selling cars that bear close resemblance to famous imported vehicles, is facing heat over its newly-launched SR9 model.
Some wealthy Chinese car owners are extremely upset that Zotye’s SR9 looks like a perfect clone of the Porsche Macan luxury compact sport-utility vehicle.
Venting their anger at the copycat version, some Porsche owners late last week stormed an automobile showroom that was displaying the replica model, Sohu News reports.
The protesters blocked the entrance of the showroom and shouted slogans denouncing the “ripoff” Chinese vehicle.
According to a Porsche owner, they are getting infuriated as they have been facing queries from a skeptical public when they take their Macan SUVs out onto the road.
The owners are being asked whether the vehicles are genuine German cars or just Zotye SR9s with a Porsche badge stuck on the front hood.
Media reports have noted that the SR9 not only resembles Porsche Macan from the outside, it also copied the interior design as well as some software interfaces of the German model.
Given this, the Chinese vehicle is easily mistaken for the German car, some versions of which are priced at more than a million yuan in China.
But of course, the mainland model can never replicate the kind of engine performance from the famous German automaker.
While a Zotye SR9 costs only 100,000 yuan, a Porsche Macan would cost at least six times that price.
The price difference perhaps explains why Macan owners are feeling that their status is being eroded by the copycat version.
During the protest last week, onlookers were stunned by how alike cars from the two brands looked. Some people said they could not really make out the difference.
Some said the only obvious difference on the exterior, besides the badge, was the headlights.
Cases like these are not uncommon in China where replica models can roam freely without legal consequences, as authorities are relatively tolerant toward copycat products.
Japanese automaker Honda’s failed lawsuit against Shuanghuan Auto in relation to a patented compact crossover car has left the world shocked as to how protective Chinese authorities can get toward domestic products.
One would normally expect that the copycats will at least be reprimanded for their behavior. Sadly, that has not been the case in China.
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