VW BeetleThere may not be a more iconic shape in all of the motoring world. When you see a VW Beetle, particularly in profile, you know exactly what you're looking at, even if it's just a fleeting glimpse.
You might think such familiarity would set the Beetle apart from all other cars in the world, and, for the most part, you'd be right. Nobody in their right mind would copy such a well-known car, right?
Apparently, that message hasn't made it all the way to China. While there are some legitimately good cars being designed and produced in China these days, there are also some horribly bad examples. As you'll see in this slideshow, at least two small Chinese companies have decided that, instead of taking the time to design their own original shapes, it's far easier to steal from somebody else.
Click above to see two neighborhood electric vehicles that mimic the designs, very poorly we might add, of two legitimate and well-known automobiles.
VW Beetle and Chinese copyThe car on the right, you already know. It's a VW Beetle.
That car on the left. Yeah, the one that looks like a really bad copy of a VW Beetle? That's a prototype from a Chinese company called VIDEOEV (caps theirs). Not only does the Chinese copy steal the shape of VW's iconic Beetle, its logo looks just like that of Nissan, except with lettering borrowed from Volvo inside.
A real mish-mash of stolen goods, then.
VW Beetle and Chinese copy from the rearThe copying continues at the rear. The basic sloping-roof shape is very similar, as are the rear spoiler and tail lights. The emblem is in the same position, and there's even a tailpipe on the Chinese copy, despite the fact that it's an electric car.
Notice, though, that the real Beetle is a two-door, while the VIDEOEV prototype crams four doors into what looks to be roughly the same amount of space.
VW Beetle and Chinese copy from the frontHere we get a good look at the faces of the real VW Beetle and its Chinese copycat from VIDEOEV. The bug-eye headlights are clear on both examples, with the main differences being a larger air intake on the Volkswagen and a slight hood bulge on the copy.
You also get a good look at the VIDEOEV emblem, which, as we said, is an amalgam of Nissan and Volvo logos.
BMW i3Here we have the brand-new BMW i3. This is the first production electric car from the German automaker, and it's been winning awards and accolades as a real car that just so happens to need no gasoline.
It's design is new, but it's quickly becoming a familiar sight on roadways all around the world. Ripe for a rip-off, then.
BMW i3 and Chinese copyIt's easy to tell which of these is the real thing and which is the poor copy, right?
On the left is the BMW i3, on the right, a low-speed electric vehicle called the Jinma JMW2200. This isn't a very good copy, but it's clear the crew from Jinma got plenty of inspiration from BMW.
Note the kidney-shaped grilles, a trademark of BMW, at the front, flanked by high-tech lighting clusters at either side. There's a two-tone paint job (well-executed from BMW, poorly from Jinma) and a bumper with fog lights nestled inside black insets.
BMW i3 and Jinma copy from the frontLooking straight ahead at both cars, it's clear that the proportions look correct from BMW, and strange from Jinma.
The shape of the grille openings are roughly the same, and the lighting elements are similar. Note, too, the location of the emblems.
BMW i3 and Jimna copycat from the rearFrom the rear three-quarter angle, we see lots more styling details stolen from BMW.
From the two-tone paint to the rear lights, Jinma very clearly attempted, albeit poorly, to mimic the look and design of the BMW i3.
The overall effect looks graceful and high-tech from BMW, but cheap and childish from Jinma. At least the copy managed to get the color right.