Lifan 3-Series is a Chinese Mini Cooper Knockoff

By Chris Haak

01.24.2008

Earlier this week, Chinese automaker Lifan showed its 3-Series sedan to assembled media. While the name would make one think that the vehicle is a clone of the BMW 3-Series, in fact, it’s a clone of a different product in BMW’s portfolio: The Mini Cooper.

Lifan has added its own twist to the Mini Cooper, however, by messing up the proportions in the front end and adding two more doors. It will reach Chinese consumers in the first half of the year; no word on whether they’d dare to try selling it in Europe, where it would meet legal objections similar to those faced by Shuanghuan when it attempted to show its Noble Smart ForTwo knockoff at the Frankfurt auto show a few months ago.

Ironically enough, the Lifan 3-Series has nearly the same engine under its disfigured and ill-proportioned hood that the previous generation Mini Cooper had.

Thanks to CarScoop for the photos and information on this latest example of the Chinese disregard for intellectual property rights.

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Author: Chris Haak

Chris is Autosavant's Managing Editor. He has a lifelong love of everything automotive, having grown up as the son of a car dealer. A married father of two sons, Chris is also in the process of indoctrinating them into the world of cars and trucks.

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3 Comments

  1. Those checkered graphics do it that much worse. I’m having a bad reaction to these knockoffs…and the lousy proportions make them among the least attractive things on four wheels.

  2. I’m sick of looking at the crappy Chinese cars. Maybe we could take a holiday from the Chinese buzz boxes.

  3. d fleury, this is just the beginning! You will be seeing plenty of Chinese cars in the future! Ten years from now Chinese cars will be a like a horde of locusts on the automotive ladscape!

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