Jaguar Land Rover has taken a hard lesson on copyright protection in China, and has announced it will not pursue legal action against Jiangling Motors for copying its most popular vehicle in China.
“I really regret that all of a sudden, copy-and-paste is coming up again,” Land Rover Chief Executive Officer Ralf Speth told reporters, according to Autoweek.
“There are no laws,” Speth said. “There’s nothing to protect us, so we have to take it as it is.”
Jaguar Land Rover was given a surprise when it opened a plant outside Shanghai in October last year. The first vehicle set to roll off the line at its first overseas manufacturing plant was its luxury Range Rover Evoque sport-utility vehicle, which was its most popular vehicle in China.
Just as Jaguar Land Rover was opening the plant, a month later in November a Chinese company called Jiangling Motors unveiled its new Landwind X7 at the Guangzhou motor show in China. The X7 is a surprisingly well-done clone of the Evoque—and an appalled Land Rover seemed to agree.
The X7 caused a stir on auto blogs and in the international press, many of which highlighted the similarities by showing side-by-side images of the X7 and Evoque. None were quite as surprised, however, as Jaguar Land Rover, which planned to engage Chinese officials and promised “appropriate action” soon after the X7 was unveiled.
“The fact that this kind of copying is ongoing in China is very disappointing,” Land Rover CEO Ralf Speth told the U.K.’s Autocar magazine in November 2014. “I will talk to our officials and I will talk to our partners at Chery to find a way around this situation.”
It appears those conversations have now failed. The Landwind X7 sells for a third of the price of an Evoque, at around $24,189. According to Automotive News Europe, the Evoque has seen steady sales since it began production about a month ago. But that could change when the X7 hits the market in July or August.