Land Rover wins copycat case
Jiangling’s Landwind X7 is ordered out of production for looking just like the Evoque
Jaguar Land Rover, part of Tata Motors, has won a case in China against Jiangling Motors for making cars that copy features of the Range Rover Evoque.
The Landwind X7 looks identical to the Evoque, but costs about $18,000 less in China.
Beijing Chaoyang district court said on Friday the Evoque, whose latest model was launched in 2018, had five unique features that were copied directly in the Landwind X7 built by Jiangling Motors, leading to widespread consumer confusion.
The court ruled that all sales, manufacturing and marketing of the Landwind vehicle must stop immediately and Jaguar Land Rover must be paid an unspecified compensation figure.
Jaguar Land Rover’s lawsuit against Jiangling is a rare move. Despite widespread and often blatant copying, global carmakers generally don’t take legal action in China as they feel the odds of winning against local firms are low.
Also, a lawsuit can be bad publicity if the Chinese public think a foreign company is bullying domestic competitors.
However, the victory might embolden other European manufacturers to launch their own anticopying lawsuits, including Porsche, whose Macan was cloned by Chinese brand Zotye.
Audi RS3 production paused
Fancy buying an RS3? Sorry, you can’t, as production of the high-performance Audi that was launched in SA in 2017 has been temporarily halted worldwide.
Audi blames it on limited homologation capacity of the 294kW 2.5l turbocharged five-cylinder engine because of the recently introduced WLTP fuel consumption and CO² emissions testing procedure.
The worldwide harmonised light vehicles test procedure (WLTP) was introduced in September 2018 with the intention of providing consumers with more realistic real-world consumption figures than the NEDC (new European driving cycle) system used previously.
However, it has disrupted car production in Europe as any car that wasn’t certified by September 1 can’t legally be sold there. Carmakers say they weren’t given enough time to prepare as the final WLTP regulation was not published until late July 2018.
It has left carmakers scrambling to catch up and bottlenecks at testing centres, with many cars requiring new emissions equipment such as particulate filters because the WLTP generally produces higher pollution and consumption figures.
The 2019 Audi RS3 Sportback and Sedan are among the cars affected, and deliveries have been delayed to all markets worldwide.The delay also affects the 2019 Audi TT RS, which is powered by the same engine.
Audi is unable to say when production of these models will resume.
Bulletproof Range Rover
Among the slew of special Land Rover and Jaguar cars that JLR’s SVO (special vehicle operations) skunkworks churns out is the Range Rover Sentinel armoured derivative.
The company has released the latest version, which has received a number of tweaks to its power outputs, cabin refinements, all-terrain capability and reinforcement of its occupant protection.
Fortification of its protection cell that is built to stringent standards and in accordance with full ballistic and blast certifications now includes added engineering to counter modern and unconventional forms of attack, including improvised explosive device fragmentation blasts.
Further improvements are specially manufactured run-flat tyres that enable a Sentinel that’s had its wheels shot out to drive more than 50km at speeds of 80km/h. Armoured glass is standard fitment while added security systems now include the option of a specially configured front window that drops a maximum of 150mm for document delivery. You also have the option of a siren and emergency lighting packs and a public address system allowing occupants to address people from within the car.
Previously powered by a V6, the new Sentinel is now fitted with a 5.0l supercharged V8 petrol engine with 280kW of power. That’s considerably less than the 386kW-416kW outputs of regular supercharged Range Rovers and the company doesn’t explain the reason for the power deficit. Still, the Sentinel is said to dispatch the 0-100km/h dash in 10.4 seconds and reach a top speed limited to 193km/h.
Upgrades to the chassis, suspension, braking and electronic stability systems are optimised for on-road dynamics and off-road ability that includes tackling deep water crossings and challenging terrain.
The Sentinel is available for order to global customers.
Porsche flips about flips
Porsche is said to be tired of some customers reselling its special-edition sports cars for big profits. As a solution Porsche CEO Oliver Blume has proposed to lease rather than sell special-edition models.
He told Autocar that such cars would be either available as a lease or perhaps part of a subscription model, the goal being to ensure the cars go to customers who plan to drive them, not park them in a garage and then sell them later for a profit.
Blume said Porsche puts too much love into cars like the 911 R or 918 Spyder to have them flipped for a quick buck.
The 911 R, for instance, made its appearance on the used market at fives times its original price. The limited-edition 911 R, which was based on the GT3 and positioned as the most purist 911, was launched in 2016 at a US price of $189,950 (R2.7m), but it became such a collectors’ car that owners began to advertise their cars for as much as $1.3m (R18.7m).
Ford has also tried to prevent speculators from profiteering on its low-volume GT sports car. Ford made it a condition of sale that customers had to keep the car for at least 24 months, and famously sued pro wrestler John Cena for selling his GT at a profit less than a month after buying it.
BMW looking at hydrogen again
It’s been some time since BMW mentioned hydrogen-powered vehicles, but in a chat with research and development boss Klaus Frohlich at the company’s annual results conference recently, it seems to be back on the table.
BMW is leveraging its co-operation agreement with Toyota, the Japanese company playing a long game, with significant investment not just to create its Mirai hydrogen fuel cell car but the infrastructure and even the hydrogen development behind it.
Frohlich told us he expects the cost of hydrogen vehicles to reach parity with not just electric vehicles but also those with an internal combustion engine by 2025, but he doesn’t see it being viable for passenger cars.
Instead, Frohlich told us they are looking at it for utility vehicles, but wouldn’t go into details. He mentioned US postal service vehicles but also large pick-ups and vehicles that might use a diesel engine with an additional urea tank in order to reduce emissions. He says that combination is unnecessary and could easily be replaced by hydrogen.
“I see in the future that we will not only sell cars — we will sell technology,” he told us, which could also mean it could supply its hydrogen tech to other carmakers.