In yet another example that Chinese laws regarding intellectual property rights are perhaps not as stringent as they could be, auto manufacturer Zotye has released another brazen copy of a European vehicle. This time you are looking at the rather good copy of a Range Rover Sport.
It's called the T900 and will be offered solely to the Chinese market (for fairly obvious reasons) and is expected to cost approximately $23,000. That is almost three times less than the starting price of an actual Range Rover Sport when equipped with a 340-hp gasoline engine in our market. Thanks to various taxes and import duties, Chinese shoppers will have to cough up approximately $150,000 for the real deal.
Now most readers will have already moved into one of two camps, the first is wondering whether Range Rover is charging a bit much for its model and thinking that this Chinese ripoff could be a bit of a bargain, even if it is only half the car the Range Rover is.
The other group has already started swearing angrily at their computer/mobile phone and instigated legal proceedings in their heads against this shameless company.
Well, based on previous results the chances of a successful lawsuit are rather slim. The question of whether the Zotye T900 is even half as good as an actual Range Rover Sport is a bit trickier to answer. While the exterior looks mostly like a Ranger Rover, we think the back has shades of our own Jeep Grand Cherokee about it.
Under the plagiarised bodywork, rumor has it that the SUV will come fitted with a 230-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged gas engine and a dual-clutch transmission when it goes on sale later this year. So, in performance terms, it will be no match for even the base Range Rover Sport.
Without being able to assess its dynamic capabilities and ride refinement we will err on the side of caution and assume it will not have quite the same off-roading capabilities as the original.
The interior also borrows from several other European SUVs, the steering wheel design looks to be derived from a Volvo, the dashboard from a Mercedes-Benz and the console echoes the look of a Cayenne or Macan. Love it or hate it, a comparison test between the T900 and a Range Rover Sport would make for some fascinating reading.