• Jan 22nd 2008 at 5:28PM
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Clubman: potentially described as cute. Lifan 3 Series: Not cute. Not even ugly to the point of being endearing. Enough of the MINI's cues make it through in the Lifan that you can just picture them laying a huge sheet of onion skin over the Clubman and coming up with this. It's close in a lot of ways, but misshapen in others. A weird front overbite is the result of small wheels and a longer overhang than the MINI, and the C/D pillars appear thick – just a big blind spot where the Clubman has visibility. Underhood might be an actual legitimate link to the MINI. Lifan has invested in the Tritec four cylinder that powered the R50 first generation of revived MINIs. Ingress and egress in the Lifan is aided by four conventionally hinged doors, versus the Mini's clamshell treatment, but it ends up being reminiscent of a LeCar, but not as cool. Lifan could always outsource design to the rest of the world if this is the best they can do. We're sure they've got the engineering bit down, but the world doesn't need a MINI that reminds us of those cheap, anonymous knock off matchbox cars with no bottom.

[Source: Carscoop, Photos: China Car Times]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      i wonder if they also copied the dinner-plate-sized speedometer..
      • 7 Years Ago
      I always wanted to know what a 4 door mini would look like.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This certainly contributes to why I would never admit to be Chinese (but merely Hongkonger; there's a difference!). Much of this disrespect for intellectual property in China is a result of the Cultural Revolution and communistic doctrine in general. There is currently an entire generation of adult mainland Chinese who, thanks to Mao, do not understand the concept of ethics, civility or ownership. Schade...
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think autoblog needs to start a KIRF (Keepin' it Real Fake) series. You guys are partnered with engadget, right?
      • 7 Years Ago
      The thing is, though, that this is not just a car phenomenon. It's the way the Chinese practice capitalism. I was in China a couple of months ago, and in the tourist areas I would routinely run into a large number of people selling exactly the same cheap plastic doodads in the same place at the same time. Sometimes I'd barely have the time to say no to one before another offered to sell me the very same gadget.

      The funniest incident of this involved a man trying to steer me into a "cheap Rolexes" shop. He noticed I was wearing a large watch with a white dial, so he showed me his "catalog", pointing out a watch that was very similar to the one I was watching at that very moment. Why would I want another one of what I already have?!?

      Even the girls that try and scam you on East Nanjing Road (it's a bar scam, well-documented on the internet) all start off by asking you the exact same question in English. If a girl comes up to you in Shanghai and the first words out of her mouth are "where are you from?", be wary of any place they want to take you to.

      Go to any tourist-oriented market -- like Xian's famous Muslim market, for example -- and be greeted with the sight of a whole market being entirely populated by four or 5 different stalls... repeated over and over again. Of the stalls that carry similar goods, most set up their wares for display in exactly the same way. And of course if you're in Xian you'll have a look at the Terracota Warriors museum. At the exit on a nice day you'll see at least 10 people selling pomegranates. And they're all going after the same customers.

      I didn't really notice that -- certainly not anywhere as much -- in Taiwan, so I think it's probably a mainland thing. Imitation isn't flattery, it's a business plan.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Wow, that sounds almost exactly like the flea market (not a flea market in the traditional sense, mostly cheap Chinese merchandise) in Revere Mass!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Lost in Translation:

      USA: "How many times have we told you to knock it off?!"

      CHINA: "We do! Everytime you tell us to knock it off, we do it! Knock-it-off Lexus, knock-it-off BMW, knock-it-off Mini...you too pushy."
      • 7 Years Ago
      WOW this is a near exact-replica of the MINI, except for the lumpy hood section(where it got a bit fuzzy). Picture 2 is almost 100% spot on, with no detail left untouched. The S spoiler, taillight config(from gen 1), and the near-useless 3rd brake light.

      Oh okay, I just noticed the rear set of doors. Wow, even the wheels are the "biohazard" logo set.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Aw man!

      Surely, out of like 2 billion people or whatever, there should be at least a FEW people over there with a sense of proportion or something right? Statistical certainty?

      • 7 Years Ago
      You have to be kidding me. When will the madness end? What will it take to get Chinese automakers to quit this s***.
        • 7 Years Ago
        LOL @ the lead commend..
        • 7 Years Ago
        Agreed! If they don't copy, they send us crap with lead in it. At least that was original!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Just to clarify a few posts above..the Germans didn't copy the Sopwith Tripe, it was Anthony Fokker, who was Dutch. He just sold his goods to the highest bidder..and, BTW, the plane was not an exact copt of the Sopwith, it had the same planform, but that was about it..
      • 7 Years Ago
      What kind of chinese are you? I mean, that thing has got to stop! Koreans and chinese make me wanna puck!
        • 7 Years Ago

        Good job calling us "Aryans." You don't seem like a bigot at all.

        Good job trying to fight the fact that China is notorious for ripping off other country's work. The fact is that, from technology to automobiles, China has done nothing but steal, cheat, and use.

        So you're Chinese? You're Korean? Good for you, I am an Asian, too. That doesn't change the fact that China, an Asian country or not, has a huge lack of business ethics. (Not to mention other ethics as well.)

        • 7 Years Ago
        sebastian mejia @ Jan 22nd 2008 5:59PM wrote: "Koreans and chinese make me wanna puck!"

        First of all, what do Koreans have to do with the Chinese Lifan 3 Series? If you are going to be racist about it, at least try to hit the right target.

        Second, copying other people is not an exclusive Chinese tradition. Ever heard of the Fokker Dr.I? The Germans, self-proclaimed Aryan master race during WW2, copied the Fokker Dr.I from the British Sopwith Triplane during WW1. Hey, if copyright infringement is good enough for your Aryan overlords, it's good enough for everyone else, right?

        Think a little next time before you start vomiting xenophobia all over the place.

        • 7 Years Ago
        Oh, and by the way, what does something Germany did during WWII have to do with this? LOL You sound like those religious extremists that bring up extremely old facts that are completely irrelevant today. Especially considering that as each day progresses, we're constantly making advancements in ethics.
        • 7 Years Ago
        DHG @ Jan 22nd 2008 9:39PM wrote: "So, because something similar happened somewhere else we shouldn't say anything now?"

        How about: We don't pretend the Chinese are the only ones doing it, because the rest of the civilized world couldn't possibly stoop so low? And how about: We don't use these news reports as an excuse for making blatantly racist remarks, such as "the Koreans and the Chinese make me puke"? As numerous news reports have shown, China is just one of many countries in Europe and Asia that regularly steal intellectual property from foreign companies. China rightly deserves to be criticized for its illegal crimes, as do Russia, Germany, France, Japan, Korea, Israel, and many other countries all over the world. But for anyone to claim these crimes are due to the Chinese culture, tradition, or ethics, is a blatantly racist and xenophobic lie that runs counter to well-documented facts.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Here's more to constantly making advancement in ethics as each day progresses:

        1996: "Moscow's 'Operation Farewell' spent $1.4 billion a year in salaries and bribes to obtain secret details of thousands of NATO weapon systems; Russia's space shuttle was created by following documents taken from NASA. China has flooded the U.S. with spies, enabling that country to modernize its military with weapon systems that could bring it up to superpower status. Japan's efficient spy network has tapped U.S. universities, companies and research institutions, channeling a steady flow of proprietary documents, economic intelligence and biotechnology secrets to Tokyo. Agents from France, Germany, Israel, Taiwan and South Korea are also harvesting information and blueprints in the U.S. ..."

        2001: "Two Japanese molecular biologists have been charged with espionage in the United States... The biologists are accused of stealing materials... and passing them on to... [RIKEN] in Japan, which is mainly funded by the Japanese government."

        2002: "... at least twelve of our top trading partners conduct systematic spying on major U.S. firms. The top twelve include the seven largest European Community economies, plus Israel, Japan, China, Taiwan and Korea. Most are strictly company-directed attacks, but France and China most notably rely on government aid and direction."

        • 7 Years Ago
        I have yet to see Korean automakers copy panel for panel like this car and other EXACT copies that Chinese automakers churn out.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Mke: Feel free to criticize China (and other countries) when the news reports their companies are stealing technologies, designs, and ideas from others. I *only* object to racist statements that explicitly or implicitly say these illegal activities are somehow due to the culture, morality, ethics, or tradition of one particular ethnicity. Not to beat a dead horse at this point, but China is just one of many European and Asian countries that engage in large-scale industrial and economic espionage. Like I said, feel free to criticize China and the rest of them, as long as we can leave xenophobia out of the legitimate criticism.

        By the way, now is as good a time as any to address one other issue. I don't just defend the Chinese or the Koreans. There have been numerous occasions right here on Autoblog when Toyota haters have used the racist term "Jap" in a defamatory manner. Below is just one of many examples, and you can see for yourself how I reacted to it. And I would denounce racism again when it happens, no matter which ethnic group is being slandered.

        See Alain's remarks, and my responses to them.
      • 7 Years Ago
      What you wrote was technically, historically, and factually correct. But here is the bigger picture: The British Sopwith Triplane was the first fighter (fighting scout) that used a triplane planform in WW1, and it was far superior in a dogfight versus any aircraft in the German air force at the time. As a result, the Germans decided to copy the British idea of using a triplane for a fighting scout, and solicited designs for a fighting scout with a triplane planform. This gave rise to the Fokker Dr.I.
        • 7 Years Ago
        ... in response to cashrc @ Jan 23rd 2008 9:58AM
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