would seem to be rife in China where, as I understand it, there is no
requirement to observe international copyright laws. Having already copied the Visa, a number of Chinese companies have cloned the ZX.
April 2002 a Shanghai motorcycle manufacturer called JM Star Group
announced three cars based on the ZX platform - JM Star Meilu JJ 7130, JJ 7131 and JJ 7132.
The 7132 three volume car has a tail that imitates that of
Mercedes-Benz. The company owner, Mr. Li Shutong is the brother of Mr.
Li Shufu, president of Geely Group . Li Shutong is not licensed to
produce motor cars so he uses the licence issued to a company called
Jiangbei of Jilin city who produce a range of cars called Meilu (or
Beautiful Deer in English).
The cars were designed by a Shanghai
design company named TJ Innova. The engine proposed was a 1 342cm3
capacity Chinese Tianjin-Toyota 8A-FE (1342 cc).
Planned production in the Jiangbei Works in Jilin never took place.
Shanghai Maple (Huapu)
2003, the JM Star was sold to the Geely Group. Geely redesigned the
three volume model, but left the two-volume models unchanged.
Production was transferred to the JM Star facility in Shanghai. The new name of the company is Shanghai Maple (Huapu).
The JJ 7130 was renamed Maple Whirlwind SXE 7130 (Chinese: Huapu Biaofeng), the car also has a new logo.
Later in 2003 the JJ 7131 successor was introduced: named Maple M203.
The new three volume model followed in 2004 and was named Maple Marindo M303.
The Biaofeng was redesignated SMA 7130/ SMA 7131 while the M203 became SMA 7150 and the M 303 SMA 7151.
The engines were replaced by Geely units: the MR 479Q (which is in fact
a copy of the Tianjin-Toyota) 1 342 cm3 powered the Biaofeng while the
M203 and the M303 were fitted with the MR 479QA of 1 498 cm3
In 2005 the range was renamed: in Chinese Haiyu (Marindo), Haixun
(Hisoon) and Haishang (Hysool). Also new front ends were shown, one of
which is a copy of the current Audi. The M 203 was replaced by the M 205 and there is a M 206 sports version prototype.
The M 303 was built on to include the new M 305. A new engine was
added: the JL 481Q 1 762 cm3. Hybrid and diesel prototypes were
made.The Biaofeng was taken out of production.
The 2006 range comprises:
Marindo (Haiyu) 205 two-volume,1 342 cm3 MR 479Q, export name C31;
Hisoon (Haixu) 205 two volume, 1 498 cm3 MR 479QA in sports colors, no export name;
Marindo (Haiyu) 303 three volume, 1 498 cm3 MR 479QA, export name C51;
Hysoul (Haishang) 305 = three volume, Audi nose, 1 762 cm3 JL 481Q, export name C81.
add to the twists and turns of this story, there are also Chinese
copies of the copies! A copy of the Biaofeng was introduced by the
Jiangnan company of Xiangtan city at the end of 2004. Jiangnan has had
a long relationship with Geely and planned to produce Geely cars in
2002, but it never worked out. Then it developed cars of its own,
including the Jiangnan Chuanqi (Saga) JNJ 7150. The engine is the MR
is a fourth company producing a car based on the ZX Fukang-platform -
another motorcycle manufacturer - the Lifan company of Chongqing city.
The Lifan is designed by TJ Innova on a 2 540 mm wheelbase platform.
The Lifan 520 is fitted with a BMW Tritec engine and was introduced in
It must be very frustrating for the
company to have its designs stolen. But plus Áa change, plus c'est la
mÍme chŰse - another (French) automobile company was not averse to plagiarism in the nineteen sixties... And then there was a Romanian company that was fond of plagiarism too. Perhaps it is because their designs are so good that people want to copy them...
PSA maintained a dignified silence when I asked them about these cars.
the following article dated November 2005 lifted from China Automotive
Information Net indicates that PSA is not ignoring the issue.
Peugeot Citroen Automobile Co Ltd has filed a lawsuit against Shanghai
Maple Automobile Co Ltd for infringing its patents.
Intermediate People’s Court has accepted the case, said a prosecutor
named Li from the court. But he refused to give further details before
the hearing starts.
Wuhan-based Dongfeng Peugeot Citroen Automobile, a joint venture formed
by Dongfeng Automobile Co Ltd and PSA Peugeot Citroen Group, the
second-largest automaker in Europe, alleged that Shanghai Maple used
Citroen’s core chassis technology in producing a series of its models,
according to anonymous sources close to the case.
Shanghai Maple is one of the leading domestic automakers that makes cars from its own designs.
"We have already registered the patent of the special chassis
technology with the world intellectual property rights organization,"
said Chen Hongshen, a public relations official from Dongfeng Citroen
Automobile Co Ltd, a subsidiary of DPCA.
Mao Yongchen, a public relations official from Shanghai Maple, the
subsidiary of Geely Automobile Co Ltd, claimed in a telephone interview
yesterday the firm hasn’t received any documents from DPCA.
This latest case is not an isolated as GM Daewoo Auto & Technology
Company, a unit of General Motors, the world’s largest automaker, filed
a lawsuit against Chery in May this year.
GM Daewoo alleged Chery QQ copied its Spark sedans and demanded 80
million yuan (US$9.86 million) as compensation for patent infringement.
Previous media reports said Dongfeng Honda Automobile Co Ltd and Toyota
Automobile Co Ltd also sued Hebei Shuanghuan Automobile and Geely
Automobile Co Ltd for similar reasons.
"It’s inevitable for domestic automakers to imitate other advanced
technology, no matter from other domestic companies or foreign firms,"
Zhang Zhenzhi, deputy engineer from China Automotive Technology&
Research Center, said. "But in the future, we would be able to better
our designs after getting more experience on developing our own autos."
More domestic automakers are being encouraged to focus on
self-developed cars in the next five years in a move to increase their
competence on the world market.