Scoop: Did BMW Clone its X1 Into the China Market Zinoro EV SUV?

When it comes to China and automotive doppelgangers, it’s Chinese manufacturers cloning Western carmakers’ models, but what you’re seeing here is a European company turning one of its own cars into a Chinese-badged product, in this case, BMW using the X1 as a base for its upcoming Zinoro brand.

At least that’s what it looks like because BMW may further alter the design of the car before it reaches production.

The spy shots show a current generation X1 wearing a different face that ditches the Bavarian brand’s double-kidney grille, while also gaining different lights and bumper. The profile remains the same but at the back it appears that the prototype bears some changes to the tailgate and bumper designs.

Zinoro is a new China market-only brand created by the BMW Group in cooperation with its main local partner, Brilliance Automotive, with the initial goal of building electric cars – the first of which is believed to be a crossover based on the prototype you see pictured here.

While we had heard rumors about BMW’s plans on a new Chinese joint venture before, the German carmaker only made it official at the Auto Shanghai 2013 in late April.

“A decade ago, we established our production presence in China,” said BMW Group China CEO Karsten Engel. “Since then, we have invested 1.5 billion Euros in our production facilities with our joint venture partner, Brilliance Automotive and our close cooperation with BBA continues. Just last week, together we announced ‘ZINORO’, a new car brand designed for the Chinese market. Underpinning BMW’s activities in China is not only our strategy development through the BBA joint venture, but also our exclusive partnership with Brilliance Automotive.”

BMW is not the only foreign carmaker to enter China’s electric car market with a new brand, as Nissan is doing the same with the Venucia nameplate and Mercedes with Denza.

Photo Credits: CarPix for CarScoopS

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