Porsche to Sue Over Chinese Macan Clone?

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No, that’s not a Porsche Macan. It’s a Chinese-made knockoff, the Zoyte T700, and Porsche is seriously considering a lawsuit to prevent its manufacture.

The Chinese automotive industry has a major problem with design plagiarism, in which a Chinese automaker simply copies an existing design from another (usually non-Chinese) automaker. Of course, they don’t consider it a problem. There have been many examples of patent infringement in the past. Chinese-based Landwind built a Range Rover Evoque copy, the X7. Its patent drawings were available all the way back in April 2014, but Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) only started considering legal action after they saw the X7 debut on the Guangzhou Auto Show, when it was completely finished and ready to roll. Too late! Even more recently, BYD Auto was readying a Porsche Cayenne clone. Now automaker Zotye is preparing an SUV called the T700, which looks almost exactly like the Porsche Macan.

Zotye plans for the T700 to become the new flagship for their SUV line. It will be powered by a 177hp 2.0 turbo, or a new 3.0 V6 turbo that is currently under development. Prices are anticipated to start around 170.000 yuan ($27,390 US, according to today’s exchange rate). The Porsche Macan starts at 558.000 yuan or $89,920 US.

The Porsche press office says court action is being researched and reviewed by the company’s various legal departments, and that a final decision will be made after this process is complete. Much will depend on exactly how and when Porsche applied for patent on the Macan in China. If they did everything according to the Chinese law, which is famously vague—copyright enforcement in China doesn’t really exist—they have a chance. The Porsche name will help too, especially when fully backed by Volkswagen, one of the largest investors in the Chinese automotive sector. Furthermore, the Zotye T700 seems far from finished at the moment (it will reportedly not hit the market until next year), giving Porsche time to work out a strategy and put the brakes on development.