Chinese automaker Jiangling Motor, is being sued by Jaguar Land Rover for allegedly copying the British firm’s Range Rover Evoque, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said.
The suit relates to Jiangling’s Landwind X7 sport utility vehicle copying the design of the Evoque, JLR’s first China-made model, said the person with knowledge of the legal proceedings, who is not authorized to talk to the media and didn’t refused to be named.
From the other side, a spokesman for Landwind declined to comment.
Despite widespread, global automakers don’t take legal action in China as they feel the odds of winning against local firms are low.
If JLR wins its case, it could prompt other automakers to also take legal action, said Chen Jihong, a Beijing-based lawyer at Zhong Lun Law Firm.
Landwind unveiled a new version of its X7 SUV in November 2014, drawing criticism for its striking likeness to the Evoque, an imported version of which was already on sale in China.
The two SUVs have a similar shape, with the roof and windows tapering from front to back, and almost identical tail lights, however X7’s front grille is somewhat more rounded than the hard edges of the Evoque.
The X7 costs around a third of the price of an Evoque, and is some way behind in technology and performance, said Yale Zhang, managing director of Automotive Foresight.
The JLR spokesman said Jiangling has been barred by injunction from selling the X7 in Brazil, where it recently appointed an importer.
Separately, the source said with knowledge of the newly filed suit said the two automakers are also discussing what Landwind can and can’t do in any X7 design update.