By on February 15, 2010
And the winner is (left.)

China’s 11th Five-Year Plan (they still have one of those) encourages industrial design as one of the six key modern service sectors that will receive priority support from the central government.

One of these support measures was the creation of a government-sponsored patent award, which “ aims to boost the nation’s intellectual property strategy and accelerate creation of proprietary intellectual property,” as Gasgoo put it.

FAW’s Besturn B70 was the only design patent to win a gold medal at the 11th China Patent Awards in Beijing. There is just a small niggling problem:

The Besturn B70 is based on the Mazda 6 (properly licensed by FAW). The car is hardly original, save for its front headlight array, which “broke the old design model and perfectly complemented the whole”, the awards appraisal said. Maybe they should have left the headlights alone. Wouldn’t have won any gold medals, but possibly more customers. “Chinese industrial design began in the 1980s and is still in an early stage of development, lagging far behind many developed nations,” says Gasgoo in its infinite wisdom. Onward to the next 5 year plan, due out in 2011.

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7 Comments on “What’s Wrong With That Picture: Besturn B70 Wins Top Chinese Design Award...”

  • avatar

    you can google some rear quarter shots

    it looks like korea circa 1991

  • avatar

    This article using those pictures is a bit wrong. The B70 is based on the last-generation Mazda6, not the current. It uses the platform in modified form, some Mazda engines and transmissions, the steering wheel, shift knob, rearview mirror, doors, and trunklid from the old 6. Nothing else. The bodyshell is completely different. And, as you stated, FAW did properly license the shared parts from Mazda, so there’s not intellectual property theft going on here at all.

    Chinese companies whiff on a ton of these things, but this time they didn’t. Being a bit sinophobic, are we?

  • avatar

    Not suggesting any IP theft. All on the up & up.

    I just find it slightly amusing that something out of the Japanese parts bin wins a Chinese design award.

    As far as sinophobic goes: I live there. My sixth year. Love it.

  • avatar

    Well, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Actually, I prefer the B70’s look to the current Mazda6, which is too squashed and gimmicky, as well as a bit oversized in my opinion.

    FAW’s website is all in Chinese (duh) except, curiously, a few English words like “NEW” and “Service Idea”. I recall getting into a taxi in Tokyo years ago and wondering why the labels on the domestic market Toyota’s instrument panel were in English.

  • avatar

    I wonder if design schools like Art Center or CCS have plans for a branch in China anytime soon. Because they sure as heck need it.

  • avatar
    Billy Bobb 2

    “Sinophobic”. LOL! How should we define this new word?

  • avatar

    The previous Mazda6 isn’t a bad car to base your design on. Only real issue is the lack of sound insulation, and if you’re designing a shell from the ground up, then that’s not a problem… not unless you make the same design choices as Mazda.

    Sinophobe? I’d say Bertel is a Sinophile.

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