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April 21, 2023

Changan Accuses Geely Of Copyright Infringement

Well…well…well…how things have turned. After years or even decades of being “inspired” or blatantly copying Western carmaker designs, it looks Chinese carmakers have started copying each other and that has led, to all things, a possible lawsuit.

According to Jiemian, a Chinese business and finance website, Changan Auto has sent a letter to Geely Automobile accusing it of infringing on its intellectual property rights. This is centered around Geely’s new Yinhe L or Galaxy Light concept car.

To recall, the Geely Galaxy or Yinhe range is supposed to serve as that automaker’s flagship EV line. Plans are in place to launch seven new vehicles in the next two years, four of them being long-range hybrids and three of them full EVs.

With Geometry serving as Geely’s entry-level EV brand, Galaxy, on the other hand, will be their mid- to high-range EV. Because of that, they plan to market it independently, and even sought a new design philosophy. That design philosophy was supposed to be led by newly-minted Geely Vice President for Design, Chen Zheng.

Though young (he’s just 43), Chen might have resorted to working with muscle memory more in designing this Geely Yinhe L concept car. Because he’s worked 20 years at Changan Auto, the end product he’s come up with bears a strong resemblance to the CS75 Plus and Uni-T. Of course, this didn’t sit well with his former employer.

According to Changan Auto, it’s too close visually to the Changan Deep Blue SL03, particularly when it comes to the front face, headlights, and even tail shapes (for reference, the Yinhe L is on the top right of the lead photo, while the Deep Blue SL03 is on the left).

Typically, Chinese carmakers have this live-and-let-live philosophy when it comes to design copy-and-pasting, but it seems this one hits too close to home for Changan.

For its part, Geely denies that any plagiarism took place and that Changan Auto’s accusation is “groundless and misleads the public.” Per Geely, the Yinhe doesn’t take inspiration from any existing vehicle, but rather from traditional Chinese architecture.

However, the fact that Geely actually responded with an official statement (you can read it in the link) shows you the gravity of the situation. Remember, Geely has high hopes for the Yinhe brand and if Changan does decide to proceed with the lawsuit, it might mean having to scrap all the planned seven cars.

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