By on March 30, 2010

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 ([email protected]) 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.

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4 Comments on “It’s A Spark! It’s A QQ! No, It’s A Prince!...”

  • avatar

    LOL, the carbon copy copied. But, I remember that 2nd and 3rd copies done on carbon paper were always worse than the 1st one.

    But, who gives that Chery itself didn’t help them with the copy…

  • avatar

    You have to love IP laws abroad.

    Stingray, I was thinking the exact same thing. Just like the movie Multiplicity.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    I heard that Nano sales are on fire.

  • avatar

    Funny… Haima has already copied Chery’s tall-boy van (seen in the background in the pic)… I never knew they were aiming for Chery’s jugular.

    May be bad news for Chery… Haimas traditionally has had better build quality than Chery (even on their low-end cars), and if they offer the car at a lower price point, it’s sure to lure away some buyers from the popular (define popular: they haven’t burned the factory down, yet) QQ.

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