By on October 26, 2009

Lookalike Mini on its way. Picture courtesy Gasgoo

Chongqing Lifan, a Chinese car maker that is more known for its prodigious motorcycle output, launched its collector’s edition of their 320 model last week. The car is priced at 39,800 yuan ($5,830). Even China’s Gasgoo thinks that the Lifan “resembles a Mini Cooper.” But hey, BMW has motorcycle roots also.

The marketing strategy of the “collectors model” is interesting. The Lifan 320 prototype was officially launched at the 2009 Shanghai Auto Show in April. At its launch, the Lifan 320 was priced at 48,800 yuan ( $7,086).

The collector’s edition of the 320 comes with many upgrades, but is lower priced “to target fashion-conscious young buyers.” Hmm. Having trouble selling the knock-off?

Maybe the brand conscious Chinese fancy a real Mini. Or not. In the first nine months of 2009, BMW sold  59,400 BMWs and only 2,934 Minis. It’s a big country. They want big cars to go along with it.

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20 Comments on “Need a Rolex? Gucci Bag? Mini Cooper? Knock It Off!...”

  • avatar

    Considering the popularity of Buick in China, how come no Chinese auto companies make (smaller scale) knock-off versions of something like a ’63 Riviera or ’60 Electra?

  • avatar

    I’m not sure if the spelling of “Copper” in the headline was intentional or not, but it sure makes the reporting of bad knock-offs that much more amusing.

  • avatar

    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Note they did not copy a GM product.

  • avatar

    The problem here is, were BMW to sue (or Gucci or Rolex), they suddenly find their people are locked up for “espionage”.

  • avatar
    Stu Sidoti

    Gee I wonder if the Syd Mead-esque illustration in the background is a genuine Syd Mead rendering or a knock-off as well? Judging by the perspective errors, I’d guess a fakey…

  • avatar

    Ha, there was an add up for “Rolex” watches at $49.

  • avatar

    Someone please explain to me how there is moral equivalency among the nations of the world, because I’m not seeing it here.

  • avatar

    MBella, that’s not a Rolex, but actually one of those rare, luxury Bolex watches.

  • avatar

    I don’t blame people for copying and making a living for themselves. I also don’t blame others for trying to protect their advances (somewhat).

  • avatar

    Anybody remember those weird Mini commercials from a few years ago that talked about obvious fakes and how they couldn’t compete with a real Mini. Didn’t think that would actually happen.

  • avatar

    I’d like to thank US Customs for being a reliable and willing scapegoat for why I am NOT bring home Guccis and Rolexes for Christmas.

  • avatar

    Wild West capitalism at its best…or worst?

  • avatar

    v7rmp7li :
    October 27th, 2009 at 2:30 am

    China is nothing but a “parasitic insect” of the world.

    1st of all, There is NO good contribution to world.

    2nd, China only suck money from western. (Sell shit quality, immitation copy product or car or a cheap ugly wh***.)

    Tell us how you really feel…

    BTW, what curse word starts with wh?

  • avatar


  • avatar
    King Bojack

    If all the Chinese want to do is rip things off then we’re not doing too bad going by standards of what they as a country COULD do to us and rest of the planet. It would be 911 x 911.

  • avatar

    It’s a ripoff, obviously. But at least Mini Cooper didn’t lose a single sale due to it.

    How about MB E-class ripping off Lexus GS head lights? I guess it’s OK, if Germans did it.

  • avatar

    v7rmp7li :
    October 27th, 2009 at 2:30 am

    3rd, if China vaporize, What country suffer inconvenience? None.


    That can be said for any nation.

    If the 6 billion people of the entire could have a referendum to have one country vaporized, guess what would be their choice?

    (Hint, it’s not China.)

  • avatar
    Targa Florio

    Chongqing Lifan has a history of ‘borrowing’ other companies’ IP. Honda is currently suing Lifan for badging some of their motorcycles ‘Hongda’ (no joke). There’s also a second lawsuit claiming that Lifan’s ‘SOR’ logo is too close to Honda’s ‘SCR’ logo…

    I’d love to be present during the court proceedings: “Your honor, this suit is completely without merritt. Our logo clearly says HONGDA while we acknowlege that the ‘G’ is silent, it’s completely different from HONDA. Really, what’s the big deal?”

  • avatar
    Targa Florio

    Here’s the design commentary, courtesy of Lifan Motors website. This text is verbatim, unlike some companies I do not make it a habit of claiming other people’s work that isn’t mine.

    Three-color painted and exotic-color roof is the feature of LF320. The roof and body is designed as the form of horizontal parallelism, making LF320 pretty cute and embodying unconstrained personality of youth.

    Air-inlet grille is designed as the form of cartoon plat beehive shaping a little smile which looks naughty but honest. The peanut-shaped front lamps are 45°cross-section designed.

    The tail lamps are round upright designed concisely and generously. There are also lamps at the central bumper which have the function as fog and reversing lamps.

    LF320 is designed as a compact car with five doors for the double purpose of practicability and fashion.

  • avatar

    v7rmp7li :

    That’s one of the most pointless and heartless post ever.

    If china all of sudden disappears, what happens to the 1.2 billion people living there??? How does 1.2 billion refugee not inconvenience all the country? Or do you wish all 1.2 billion people living there all gone too??

    As to your rest of your post, they are just bad. I am not even going to waste my time to discuss them.

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