A pair of hard-working Las Vegas showgirls are friends, co-workers, and roommates, and each has custody of a much younger sibling. That’s the premise of a short-lived Garry Marshall-produced TV show called “Who’s Watching the Kids.” And in predictable sitcom fashion, often no one is watching the kids—and hilarity ensues.
The Chinese government is a bit like those harried showgirls, a little too busy orchestrating the manufacturing of most of the planet’s goods to closely monitor the operations of certain businesses and industries within its borders—particularly its automotive sector. And, like Garry Marshall’s show, hilarity often ensues. Hilarity, that is, in the form of copyright and intellectual-property theft.
Over the past two decades, Chinese-built vehicles looking very similar to the products of Mini, Hummer, Range Rover, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Rolls-Royce have been produced. And, because these vehicles were produced only for Chinese distribution, there was very little the makers of the original vehicles could do about the copycat cars. The problem is, even when it recognizes these designs as largely stolen, the Chinese government isn’t especially interested in getting involved in any foreign action against a domestic company.
The good news for the ripped-off automakers is that they would likely have legal recourse were these “clones” retailed outside of China—especially in North America or the European Union. However, for the most part, the look-a-like rides are kept in China proper. At least the problem is contained.
Of all the stolen-design cars produced in China, there is one that might outclass all the others in terms of sheer audacity: the Songsan Motors SS Dolphin.