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WTF China? Why Copy the Kia Picanto for Anything?

29 Mars 2015 - Autoblog

WTF China? Why Copy the Kia Picanto for Anything?

While we certainly don't condone it, we at least get why Chinese companies copy the work of global automakers. It's all about the prestige in the China, and when versions of expensive imports can be had from a cheaper, domestically built automaker, it's clear where the money will go.

But of all the prestigious, luxurious, handsome, high-performance vehicles for a Chinese automaker to rip off, why in the name of Chairman Mao did they choose a Kia Picanto?

For those not in the know, the Picanto is a tiny city car that'd slot in below the Rio, were it sold in the US market. It's a fine car for what it is, but hardly one that is so packed full of innovative, handsome styling that makes sense to copycat, even if it isn't actually sold in the People's Republic.

But that's just what Yogomo has done, with the new 330 electric car. While the real McCoy is a proper car, complete with a range of gas engines, the electric 330 is what's known in China as a low-speed electric vehicle – despite its size, according to Car News China, it can't be used on highways and is not eligible for the PRC's green subsidies.

While most copycat designs are pretty flagrant, they're easily discernible from the cars on which they're based. That's not the case with the Yogomo 330, though. The mirrors are different, sure, and the grille, while roughly the same shape, isn't as exact the trademark Kia grille. But beyond that, the design is virtually identical, and that's sure to ruffle the feathers of copyright lawyers in South Korea.

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