While India is still waiting (and waiting, and waiting) for volume production of their ballyhooed Nano, the cars-for-pygmies segment is in overdrive in neighboring China. It’s hard to keep them apart. When Chery launched the QQ in 2003, taking a bit more than just design cues from the Daewoo Matiz (a.k.a Chevrolet Spark) Car and Driver called the QQ a “carbon copy.” GM called their lawyers. After three years in court, the spat led to nothing, except that Chery can’t sell cars in the US under its own name due to the similarity between “Chery” and “Chevy.” In the meantime, the QQ is a runaway hit in China. Hits attract admirers. There’s a new copy in the house!
At last year’s Shanghai Motor Show, we saw a car that looked just like a carbon copy of the QQ. Being one of the many prototypes shown at the show, we thought “so what,” and moved on to the next booth. Turns out, the carbon copy of the carbon copy will actually go into production.
Made by Haima on the sunny island of Hainan, the production “Prince” will debut at the upcoming Beijing Auto show. According to TheTycho, “the mirrors from the QQ and the Prince are interchangeable and so are the doorhandles and all side panels.” The interchangeability of these parts seems to have tradition. Back when GM and Chery were at odds, GM executives demonstrated that the doors of the QQ and the Spark are interchangeable without modification.
The engine (47.5kw@5600rpm) also has similar characteristics as that of the QQ. The price of the Prince will be even less princely than the already bargain basement QQ. MSRP will be 35.000 RMB ($5100). With the usual steep discounts, it should go for a little more than $4000.