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'Copycat' snubs BMW, Mercedes

2007-08-29 15:07
Beijing - A Chinese carmaker said on Wednesday that its cars were not copies of vehicles made by DaimlerChrysler and BMW, according to a media report.

Shuanghuan Auto, a commercial-vehicle maker based in north China's Hebei province, said its Noble and CEO models aren't copies of BMW's X5 sports utility vehicle and DaimlerChrysler's Smart Fortwo minicar, Dow Jones Newswires reported.

"We don't think our autos are identical. It's only the media stirring things up," an official at Shuanghuan Auto's public relations department told Dow Jones.

DaimlerChrysler AG and BMW have said they may take legal action against Shuanghuan Auto for allegedly copying their vehicle models, according to the Financial Times.

The Financial Times said Tuesday that DaimlerChrysler might consider legal action if Shuanghuan Automobile showed the Noble - which the German carmaker says closely resembles its Smart Fortwo minicar - at next month's Frankfurt Motor Show.

"We reserve the right to pursue legal action - also with regard to a possible exhibition of the car at the IAA," Trevor C. Hale, a spokesperson for DaimlerChrysler (China) Ltd., said in a statement emailed to Dow Jones on Wednesday.

"Offering a vehicle so obviously similar to the Smart Fortwo, would be a violation of intellectual property," he said.

"Although it (the CEO) is a different concept from the Smart Fortwo -four seats, different size, different quality - it is still a blatant attempt to copy the design of the Smart Fortwo, no matter how it was executed," said Hale.

Ma Qingsheng, the public relations manager at BMW China, said on Wednesday "we're evaluating (whether) to take legal action," when asked for comment.

The Shuanghuan Auto official said his department hadn't received any notice from management that the Chinese carmaker is preparing to participate in the motor show.


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