Land Rover Lookalike by Chinese Maker Sells for Much Less

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Jaguar Land Rover said it’s investigating whether China’s Jiangling Motor Co. copied design elements of its best-selling SUV for a model that will sell for a quarter of the price.

The Gaydon, U.K.-based carmaker declined to say whether it would take any action over the Landwind X7, which has broad fenders, recessed door panels and a sloping roof similar to the Land Rover Evoque. The unit of Tata Motors Ltd. said only that it would “take whatever steps are appropriate to protect our intellectual property.”

Jiangling unveiled its Landwind X7 at an auto show in Guangzhou last month and is set to start selling it next August at around 130,000 yuan ($21,150), according to PCAuto.com. That’s compared to the starting price of 578,000 yuan for an Evoque, according to Land Rover’s website.

“The stand-out design is a key element that makes Evoque so desirable with our customers across the world,” JLR said in an e-mailed statement. Calls to Jiangling executives went unanswered.

Jiangling dropped 2.7 percent to 29.38 yuan at the close in Shenzhen trading, trimming its gain this year to 16 percent.

General Motors Co. settled with Chery Automobile Co. after the Detroit-based carmaker filed a lawsuit in 2004 accusing it of pirating a car design.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has included China on its list of countries needing to improve intellectual property rights in all 25 of its annual special reports on the issue. China has set up a specialized court in Beijing to handle intellectual property cases including trials on patents and trademarks.

JLR opened a production plant outside Shanghai in October to start producing vehicles such as the Evoque in China. The company plans to capture 10 percent of the country’s premium SUV market, it said at the time.