We've been following the story of the Smart clone (a Chinese-import into Europe) for a while now (it will be built, no, it won't), but a series of articles today by Automotive News' Luca Ciferri puts the Chinese clone attack into a broader perspective. First, let's update the Smart clone story. It's back, and once again will (subs req'd) be offered for sale. Martin Motors says it will sell the Shuanghuan Noble in Europe (not Germany, because of Daimler's legislation there) by May. Thanks to a separate lawsuit, it's being renamed the Bubble. The 1.1-liter Shuanghuan Bubble will be at the Bologna auto show in December.

So, what else is news? Ciferri (with Tom Armitage) writes about how Fiat and BMW are also in court. Fiat doesn't like the Peri, built by Great Wall Motor, which "is almost an exact replica of the Panda." BMW is protesting the Shuanghuan CEO, which they say could be mistaken for a BMW X5 Also, Toyota is seeing UFOs - yes, that's their name - that look suspiciously like a RAV4. What, can't anyone see the value in making a decent clone of the RAV4 EV?

[Source: Automotive News]

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