Chinese Panda Clone Banned From Europe
Automotive News [sub] reports a Turin [Italy] court has banned the Great Wall GWPeri from European sales. The court agrees with Fiat's assessment that the car "is a (Fiat) Panda with a different front end." The court ordered Great Wall to pay Fiat about $24k for the first imported model, and nearly $80k for each future import. Great Wall's lawyers say they'll appeal the decision. Fiat is also suing Great Wall in China, where the Panda isn't even sold. That case is still pending. It's been rumored that Great Wall has been interested in the U.S. market for some time, so let me be the first to say, bring the GWPeri here! The Panda's supposed to be a fun little car, and our own struggling automakers could use a captive import or two right now. Bring it as a Chevy, and let Fiat angrily nurse its $2b of GM's money. Either way, this is clearly a sign of things to come. Up next, lawsuits over this (Great Wall) Scion xB, this (SG) RX300, this (Lifan) MINI Cooper, this HUMMER, etc, etc. Hell, Great Wall even stole its GWPeri ad from an old Citroen C4 spot. Talk about incorrigible.
And I thought TTAC was making a commentary on the EU's ban on GM foods...
"The 4 door Mini clone ( minime?) looks interesting." Ironic when you consider the Mini itself is a grotesque pastiche of something else.
A bigger threat to trademark and copyright holders is the duplication of digital media. In that case, the "knock off" is (often) just as good as the original. Plus, for the freight cost of importing a single car or truck you could have thousands of CDs or DVDs. Then there are fake items like Prada hand bags. Sure, the original might be a little bit better made, but the knock-off is so inexpensive that, if it falls apart in a year or two you just buy another one. I think most of the people who buy that stuff tire of it in a year or two anyway and move on to some other fashion statement. With cars coming to the US and Europe, I think the trademark and copyright holders will indeed succeed in keeping them out.
As usual, the Chinese continue flooding western markets with cheap manufactured goods, the goods where they clearly have a comparative advantage in trade, while refusing to pay for the products for which the west clearly has an upper hand (movies, software, electronics and car designs, etc). They simply rip off the designs, styles, brands, and copy everything completely ignoring intellectual property rights. No wonder our trade deficit with China is a whooping $120B.