It's an issue Jaguar Land Rover has been trying to tackle without much success so far. You see, certain Chinese automakers have a history of building cloned copies of popular models, such as the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque. Its Chinese domestic clone is called the Land Wind X7. Welcome to automotive design plagiarism. But according to Automotive News, at least one major Chinese automaker wants to shed that image.
Chery has reportedly just hired former General Motors designer Steve Eum to design "the next level of global sophistication," according to Eum himself. Chery also has several other brands under its umbrella, such as Geely and Great Wall Motor Co. Do a quick search and you'll discover cloned copies from those brands as well. Eum has worked for Ford and Hyundai in the past, and more recently was assigned to GM's advanced design studio in southern California, so clearly the guy's talented. This Chinese automaker has realized that stealing designs from its western competitors doesn't exactly project a good image.
But what it can do instead, and this happens all the time in the industry, is poach design talent. This is perfectly acceptable in business. For example, Eum's new boss at Chery, vice president Ray Bierzynski, is also a GM veteran. Great Wall Motors also hired a former BMW designer back in 2013, so the trend of doing business legitimately (a loose term at times, we know) seems to be picking up for Chinese automakers. As we wandered the floor earlier this year at Auto Shanghai, we were amazed at how many Chinese brands had seemingly stolen designs without batting an eye. The mind reels. Hopefully the era of Chinese knock-off designs is coming to an end.