A source with knowledge of the proceedings reports that Jaguar Land Rover is taking legal action against Chinese automaker Jiangling Motor. The lawsuit alleges that Jiangling’s Landwind X7 sport utility vehicle copies the design of the Range Rover Evoque.
The legal move is rare among foreign automakers operating in China, a nation where counterfeit products are prevalent and efforts to fight copycats have been largely unsuccessful. Lawsuits against domestic competitors by foreign companies can prove to be bad for branding as they are often viewed by the Chinese public as a form of intimidation.
Unveiled in November 2014, the X7 SUV is virtually identical to the Evoque, directly following the exterior shape, tapered roof and windows, tail lights and lines on the side panels. Slight differences in the two vehicles can be eliminated by purchasing kits that allow copies of the Range Rover grille, logo and Land Rover badges to be installed on the X7 for as little as $20 USD.
While the X7 is considered to be less advanced in technology and performance when compared to the Evoque, the Landmark model is available in China for one third of the price.
JLR and Jiangling have reportedly agreed that the X7 will not be sold in Brazil and are negotiating terms to limit any future X7 design updates.