$21,700 Land Rover look-alike set to go on sale

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By BLOOMBERG

A sport util­ity ve­hi­cle that bears an un­canny re­sem­blance to the Land Rover Evoque will go on sale in China this week at one-third of its sticker price.

More than 5,500 peo­ple have put down de­posits for the Land­wind X7, which will be avail­able in deal­er­ships from Thurs­day at a start­ing price of 135,000 yuan ($21,700). The Evoque, which is Jaguar Land Rover Ltd’s best-selling model world­wide, re­tails from 398,000 yuan. Both mod­els fea­ture sim­i­lar broad fend­ers, re­cessed door pan­els and a slop­ing roof.

Jaguar Land Rover Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Ralf Speth railed atwhathe called the rise of Chi­nese “copy-and-paste” jobs ear­lier this year at the Shang­hai auto show, where the Land­wind X7 was also on dis­play. The car­maker said last year it was in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether Land­wind copied de­sign el­e­ments of theEvoque.

“Cus­tomers say the car is good-look­ing, like the Evoque,” said Zhu Jian­feng, a sales man­ager at Ning­hai Land­wind Spe­cialty Store, a deal­er­ship that stocks the X7. “The price is at­trac­tive too.”

The con­cern is that a cheap look-alike will make it harder for Jaguar Land Rover to com­mand a pre­mium for its model, es­pe­cially asautomak­ers step up dis­count­ing and of­fer cheaper vari­ants to bol­ster sales in a soft­en­ing mar­ket. The Bri­tish pre­mium car­maker, owned by In­dia’s Tata Mo­tors Ltd, has cut its prices and sales tar­gets in China as de­liv­er­ies there slumped 27 per­cent this year through June.

Asked to com­ment on the X7, Jaguar Land Rover said it takes pro­tect­ing its in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty “very se­ri­ously”, de­clin­ing to go into specifics. Jian­gling Mo­tors Co, which owns Land­wind, re­ferred ques­tions about the X7 to its unit. Calls to Land­wind’s main line and cus­tomer ser­vice hot­line went unan­swered.

Some said the Land­wind X7 may even turn out to help Evoque sales.

“Some­how, it helps Land Rover to pro­mote the Evoque,” said John Zeng, a Shang­hai-based man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at LMC Automotive, an in­dus­try re­searcher. “There are more media re­ports and con­sumers un­der­stand that the X7 is a copy­cat.”

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

The Land Rover Evoque (left) on dis­play at an auto show in Haikou, cap­i­tal of Hainan province and Jian­gling Mo­tor Co's Land­wind X7 sport util­ity ve­hi­cle on dis­play at the 16th Shang­hai In­ter­na­tional Au­to­mo­bile In­dus­try Ex­hi­bi­tion (Auto Shang­hai 2015) in Shang­hai.

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