• Dec 11th 2007 at 5:11PM
  • 7
Ready for some more on the 1.1-liter Shuanghuan Bubble, the car also known as the Shuanghuan Noble (but everyone outside of China knows it as the Smart car clone)? Automotive News Europe's Luca Ciferri went to see the Bubble at the Bologna auto show and says (subs req'd) that even though Martin Motors violated a court injunction by showing the car there, they did the right thing. Now he's seen the differences between the two with his own eyes and believes that no one will easily mistake one for the other, he writes, adding:

I feel it is wrong to consider this car an exact copy of the Smart ForTwo. One significant difference between the Bubble and the ForTwo is that the Bubble's cabin is longer and less bulky. One way to make sure the Bubble looks different from the ForTwo is if it is only sold in a single body color in Europe.

He also adds that, while the Bubble is certainly not as high-quality a vehicle as the Smart, "Maybe Daimler's effort to keep the Bubble off the road will actually help by giving Shuanghuan time to fix the problems before launching it here." Wouldn't that be just the oddest twist to this entire saga?

[Source: Automotive News Europe]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      It's the difference between a Rolex and a Rollex.

      As a designer, I'd say intellectual rights have been violated, and that's par for Chinese exports.
      • 7 Years Ago
      C'mon it looks virtually identical. An automotive journalist or designer that has studied the two next to one another will able to tell them apart but Joe Average will not. If the Chinese want to make a two-seater city car, fine, but they need to come up with a distinctive design instead of leeching off a competitor's.

      Seeing just one of the Chinese copies crumpled beyond recognition in a crash will cause the general public in Western countries to incorrectly write off the smart fortwo - an entirely different vehicle - as unsafe after all. It may even undermine trust in Euro-NCAP results.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Wow, they are identical. There is no way around it being an exact copy. You can't explain it, it's a copy. The Smart might be a failure, blah blah, but that Chinese version is a direct copy and it's insulting that (a) it's been made and (b) that a journalist applauds the law breaking path the Chinese firm continues along.
      • 7 Years Ago
      No, they are still an idiot. If it looks like it could be a different model year, it's a knockoff. And this my good man, is a knockoff.
      • 7 Years Ago
      A smart costs $20,000 Australian Dollars (so that's about $18,800USD in current conversion).

      The smart has an engine 50cc smaller than you 750cc motorbike that I purchased for $7000 Australian dollars ($6000 USD).

      Now I can buy a better appointed Hyundai for $13,000 with a 1.5 litre engine and double the room.

      Unless these cars come in under the cost of every other car they are never going to sell. The only real customers for these in Australia are firms that want to do promotion by having a funky little car. They used to use vespas a few years back - but everyone thinks they are cool and cheap - and there are now thousands of scooter riders on them around the streets.
      • 7 Years Ago
      There is a problem here, the article is misleading. Each time ABG talks about this smart clone, we see that yellow picture above. But if that's what the Bubble/Noble looked like at one time (almost identical to the Smart) it doesn't look like that anymore.

      Check this page for example, with pictures of the new Smart and new Noble:

      This is the Noble that Ciferri saw. While it still undoubtedly looks like a Smart clone, the differences are much more noticeable, and you can understand how people who know a little about car would not confuse one for the other.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Please visit

      Sales for Smart have dropped a whopping 33% since 2005. The general public in Europe has already written off Smart cars. Perhaps Smart can create a new marketing bubble for the car in the US....
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