As if copying car designs weren't bad enough.
Chinese automakers literally stealing the designs of Western automakers like Jaguar Land Rover and even Toyota is nothing new. However, the lawsuit filed by JLR did make an impact and the Chinese government has finally begun cracking down on the practice. While we wait to see if that transpires, it appears at least one Chinese automaker has switched tactics by directly copying a carmaker's website instead of the actual vehicles. And, lo and behold, Tesla is the latest victim.
A Chinese EV startup called Xpeng has a website that looks an awful lot like Tesla's website design. This is no accident.
According to Electrek, last year Tesla filed a lawsuit against a guy named Guangzhi Cao, who previously worked for the company as an Autopilot engineer before leaving to join Xpeng's own self-driving program. Before he left, however, Cao allegedly downloaded the Autopilot source code and later sold it to Xpeng. Tesla is now demanding proof from Xpeng that it's not using Tesla's source code for its own use.
While that legal fight is happening, Xpeng quietly went ahead and literally copied Tesla's website layout for its own Tesla Model S fighter, the P7. Aside from the vehicles driving at the same angle, look closely and you'll notice even the buttons where users can place an order and learn more about the car are shaped the same.
Xpeng was founded only in 2014 and, ironically, was one of the first automakers to utilize Tesla's open-source patents, which it released for free. However, Tesla's decision to release those patents was based on the premise it won't sue rivals as long as those patents are used in good faith for the betterment of electric vehicles.
Clearly this isn't the same as copying a website, but given that Xpeng is suspected of stealing the Autopilot source code, it's no surprise it'd be more than willing to shamelessly duplicate a website.