Hello, people! I have not given up. I took a 2 week break, because there was Easter (I thought nobody would read blogs on an Easter Sunday and my statistical data shows that I made the right decision) and I had a week full of exams.
Also, I spent ages fighting with (as one great Northern-Irish friend of mine calls them) “armchair protesters” (i.e. those who just sit behind the computer waiting for the slightest possible problem (without checking if their reason to protest is justified by facts) to protest to gain some sort of feeling of “achievement”) about this ridiculous Jeremy Clarkson’s accusation of being “racist”. I have two things to say about it (I apologize, but this matter needs attention): 1) this all “racist” debate was started by The Daily Mirror which has been known for an intensive hatred against Jeremy Clarkson for years. Their stupid revelation of a clip that was aired like 1.5 years ago (where were they then?!); 2) if Jezza did say a word, one racist word doesn’t make you a “racist”. Does one lie you said make you a “liar”? Or does one accidental collision with another car make you a “bad driver”? And does one punch at Piers Morgan’s face does make you a “boxer”? …I hope you see my point. I am not saying this because I like Clarkson. When he made those comments about public sector protesters I was a bit shocked and thought that was stupid of him to say that. Same is with his “one-eyed” joke about Gordon Brown. But I feel that people are pointing fingers at him because it is so easy to make him guilty. Before I get on with my article, I would like to make you remember and have a think: if he was racist, would he have invited to Top Gear will.I.Am, Usain Bolt or Lewis Hamilton (twice. And he gave him a surprise gift – a drive in Senna’s F1 car. They are great friends)?
ANYWAY…LET’S GET ON WITH IT
I DIDN’T DO IT: Chinese copy-cats
Chinese automotive industry has flourished only recently. Back in the 90s they still had hundreds of millions of people riding bicycles all over the country and a car was a rarity in many cities of China (as it was in former USSR. Blame Communism). But then there was an explosion and China became such an attractive market for major automobile manufacturers. Now there seems to be a belief: “if you lose China, you lose the world”. And I see why. For example, BMW’s sales in China last year rose by 20% (http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/01/10/uk-bmw-china-idUKBREA090AI20140110). VW, meanwhile, sold over 3 million of its motors in China last year (http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/01/10/uk-bmw-china-idUKBREA090AI20140110) and these numbers for them and other manufacturers never seem to stop.
Then suddenly, some boffins in the land of noodles and cheap electronics thought “hang on. If we have all this manufacturing power and might…why should we bring in these cars when we can make them themselves?” And so they did…unfortunately.
Some of them were under a license, of course. For example, FAW made a deal with Volkswagen which allowed them to make some old Audi 100s. While in Europe these “cigars” (as some call them) were made until 1991, the Chinese kept on going and only decided “this is enough” in 1999.
Then there is the other end of scale. The dirty one. I’ve always tried to hold my emotions back with this. There have been a couple. For example, this BYD S8 Coupe looks very much like a Mercedes CLK. Ok…that’s an old car and, reliability wise, not a very good one.
Then there’s a Smart-copy (not a smart choice to copy a Smart…if you’re following me). But the funny thing about this is that Daimler sued Shuanghuan for copying this mockery of a car…and they lost it. The judge said that it looks nothing like a Smart. Probably the judge forgot to take his glasses that day to the courtroom.
This list goes on and on and on. I never seemed to be bothered because cars they copied were old and not that brilliant…but then they went too far. Way too far…with this. Guess what is it?
Any normal civilized human being, including me, will say “This is Land Rover Evoque”. But a Chinese executive will say “noooo, it’s our proud creation Landwind E32”. OK, THAT’S IT! FIRST OF ALL: you could have put some effort calling it differently. Land Wind somehow resembles Land Rover. IT JUST DOES! EVEN THE BLOODY FONT ON THE BOOT IS THE SAME AS LAND ROVER’S. SECOND: being in business for 10 years and selling millions of cars you could have employed an imaginative designer. This is just too ridiculous. The side profile is just too similar to be claimed “an original design”. You could have done what KIA did: got a European designer to design your cars. NO. Probably your two designer’s names are “Xerox the photocopier” and “Panasonic the fax machine” because it looks like it’s a Land Rover Evoque which has been photocopied and then sent by fax to China, where an engineer looked at it and said “oh, lights are blurry. I’ll put some I can find at the local “Homebase” and nobody will notice.
And lastly, if you do copy a car, put some decent rims on it. Where did you get yours from? Was the guy you bought them from named “Keith?”
You had 10 years to develop a decent car. Soviets did a better job than you. Even Lada managed to make their own designed car. Though it took 14 years to get from a Fiat 124 (as Fiat gave Russians the whole assembly line which they installed and launched using ordinary Fiat workers) to a Lada Samara. It was underdeveloped, but it was their own design. USSR was worse off than you are – they were zoned out from foreign money, so their engineers had no chance than to wish for party members from Moscow to see a ray of light in their hair-brained ideas to receive a handful of money for it.
So please, China. Build your own cars. You have a massive industry behind you, don’t copy our ideas. We will make ours and will stick to original ideas.