Chinese carmakers cloning parts or even entire vehicles from Western companies, is nothing new or surprising, though, we will admit to raising an eyebrow when we saw joint-venture partners of European brands blatantly copying their business companion's designs, as was the case with Brilliance and the very BMW X1-like V5 SUV, and BAIC's call-me-maybe Mercedes-Benz B-Class lookalike, the "BC301Z".
Taking advantage of lax copyright laws and a system that turns a blind eye as long as these companies keep up appearances (pun intended) by avoiding the use of names and logos on their vehicles, many Chinese carmakers have managed to get away with it.
When it comes to the aftermarket industry, however, even the unspoken rules go out the window and anything and everything is game. A growing fad is the cheap (for Western standards) knockoff kits that put that final "Western" premium touch on Chinese automakers' models.
The crew over at TheTycho found an array of kits for Brilliance models (we'll remind you that the Chinese company is BMW's local partner), such as the HB30 sedan and the aforementioned V5 crossover, which include a BMW front grille piece, a set of roundel logos for the body, rims and steering wheel, and a nameplate of your choice, all for just under 400 Yuan or around US$63 / €49.
We don't know if they manage to fool anyone, but it's one way to drive a car with the roundel in China, where a Brilliance HB30 sedan is priced from 79.800 Yuan to 125.800 Yuan (US$12.900 to US$ 20,200/ €9,800 to €15,550), while the locally built BMW 523Li starts from 428,600 Yuan (US$68,900 or €52,900).
BMW isn't the only brand to fall victim (though, come to think of it, charging so much money for a 523Li made in China, were not so sure if the Bavarian company is only a victim or a…perpetrator as well), as we did our research on a number of Chinese sites and discovered the same knockoff kits for other automakers too.
These include a Mercedes styling package comprising the same items as above plus wheel covers to complete the Benz-makeover of BAIC's BC301Z, and a Lexus kit for BYD's RX-lookalike, the S6 SUV, with prices hovering around the 400 Yuan mark with delivery fees.
Photo Sources: Leoee, Autohome, TheTycho,