When does imitation stop being a form of flattery and become a case of straight out copying? We take a look around this year's Shanghai Motor Show and try to sort the fakes from the rest.
At this year's Shanghai Show, Chery unveiled a new version of its QQ city car, the QQme.
It definitely looks less beautiful without a human model adorning its flanks.
No word on how closely related the new QQme and the original QQ are. The first Chery QQ, now being sold as the QQ3, was dogged by controversy. Daewoo's owner, GM, even went so far as to launch legal action against Chery for copying its car.
Geely, a local Chinese manufacturer, showed off its new Shanghai Englon GE, a huge 5.4-metre luxury car concept. But wait a minute, what's that atop the grille (inset)? Doesn't that look rather like the Spirit of Ecstasy that adorns all Rolls-Royces?
Rectangular headlights: check. Upright grille: check. So far not
Step around the side, however, and the differences are all too obvious. Whilst the 5.4m Geely is nothing to be sneezed at, it's completely dwarfed by the 5.8m Phantom. The Chinese imitation also lacks the Rolls-Royce's reverse hinged doors — commonly referred to as suicide doors — not to mention the big Roller's imposing presence nor its sense of all-encompassing wealth.
One thing that Geely GE has to itself though is a single seat in the rear. Are China's millionaires that lonely? Is Geely targeting the niche within a niche, wealthy loners who prefer not to share the comfort of the back seat? Or is this the ultimate manifestation of China's one child policy?
BYD stands for Build Your Dreams. So we can only imagine that the designers of the S8 spent a lot of time dreaming about the Mercedes-Benz CLK.
The dreams must've become murkier as the night wore on: while the Merc is rear-wheel drive and features a soft-top, the BYD has a folding metal hard-top, looks to be front-wheel drive and has the most ghastly red alloy wheels.
We'd rather not hazard a guess at the contents of the designer's dream when Toyota's Tarago took pride of place.
The TJ Innova built this car for the Shanghai show. Although we think we've seen that horse (inset) before.
Those tail-lights bear a striking resemblance to a certain Italian supercar we've seen around the traps.
And just to prove that the S11 wasn't a fluke, the company displayed how it manufactured the car and how it could do others which we also find familiar.
In the early '80s, Beijing Automobile Works (BAW) had a deal with Chrysler, Jeep's parent. The children from the company's partnership still live on today, with the Qishi a development of the Cherokee from two generations ago.
There's a reason that Haima's cars look strikingly similar to Mazda's — they used to be partners. The joint venture has since ended (it existed between 1990 and 2006), but Mazda's influence over Haima's cars is still strong. The front of the Haima3 looks eerily similar to the Mazda3, although the side profile and interior seem to be quite different.
The back of the Haima3 hatch looks to be cribbed straight from the Mazda6.
For those of you who are curious, the name Haima is derived from Hainan, the island where the company's factories are situated, and Mazda, the company's former partner. The Chinese name translates literally as seahorse.
OK, strap yourselves in because this is all rather complicated. When Britain's MG Rover Group collapsed in 2005, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) bought the rights to some of MG Rover's cars, such as the Rover 75, but failed in its bid to buy the failed company's assets. These, instead, fell into the arms of Nanjing Automobile Corporation (NAC). Along with the plant and equipment, NAC owned the brands MG, Austin and Morris, amongst others, but not Rover. This was, at the time, still owned by MG Rover's previous parent, BMW.
Fast forward several years, SAIC and NAC have now merged and are producing MG Rover-based cars, but are unable to use the Rover name. Hence the newly created nameplate Roewe, which if you pronounce it with a German accent sounds uncannily like Rover.
Despite the refreshed rear and interior, the Roewe 750 is remarkably faithful to the last ever Rover 75, which is no bad thing.
Sitting below the 750, the 550 may be China's most complete indigenous car — at least that's what the book's cover says.