China Automobile Deutschland, the German importer bringing the Zheijang Jonway UFO and Shuanghuan Automobile CEO into the EU, says both cars have received approval for sale, and will be offered in February. The UFO very closely resembles the Toyota RAV-4, while the CEO is a near-exact copy of the BMW X5. Toyota thinks its product will acquit itself well despite the similarities in looks, and has neglected to file legal charges to impede the import of the clone cars. BMW, on the other hand, has already initiated legal proceedings to prohibit the sale of the CEO in Europe and elsewhere on the grounds that it infringes BMW’s intellectual property. A decision in that case isn’t expected until later this year, however, reports Automotive News Europe.
Price, as much as looks, may be a motivator for the suit seeking to stop the copycats from coming to Europe. The CEO will be priced at a very attractive €25,900 to start, which undercuts the BMW by more than half – an entry level X5 starts at €52,500 in Germany. And although Toyota seems unconcerned with Zheijang Jonway’s mimicry, the UFO starts at just €15,900, while the real RAV-4 will run you €27,165 in the home of Bratwurst und Sauerkraut. Perhaps it’s time Toyota got worried. On the other hand, the automotive industry isn’t an easy business, and Toyota’s acumen is hard to question. Maybe their assessment of the Chinese vehicle’s quality is dead-on, and the problem will effectively solve itself. But that’s a pretty risky gamble.