Hyundai Motor, the largest local automaker, is suffering the existence of “fake” car models, while at the same time their number and styles are both increasing. Chinese manufacturers have made fake models publicly, and lately even Japanese automakers have launched car models with designs similar to that of Hyundai Motor.
Japanese automaker Subaru has recently introduced the model “2015 Legacy,” which is an imitation of Hyundai Motor’s Sonata. The parent company of Subaru is Fuji Heavy Industries. The Japanese automaker entered the Korean market in May 2010, but closed its Korean operations in Dec. 2012 because of poor sales performance. Currently, Subaru’s cars are not formally being sold in Korea, but its 2015 Legacy is selling in other countries including the U.S. and Japan.
Until 2014, the Subaru Legacy has shown some creative designs including that of a horizontally-divided grille. Subaru’s designs for sedans and SUVs are similar. However, the grille design of 2015 Legacy has turned into a chunky hexagonal one, which is quite similar to that of Sonata’s grille.
An official at Hyundai Motor said that the company cannot verify that the Subaru model is a direct copy of the Sonata, but it is true that the design of the 2015 Legacy is very similar to that of the Sonata. He added that the company does not have a plan to file a lawsuit against the Japanese automaker since it is very difficult to verify the infringement of design in particular.
However, Chinese automakers aren't even worried about that, and are making fake models publicly. Hawtai Motor copied Hyundai Motor’s Santa Fe model, naming it “Sheungtafei,” and showing it off at the 2015 Shanghai Motor Show. The Chinese automaker once imported and sold half-manufactured parts of Hyundai Motor. The contracts between the two automakers have expired, and Hawtai is now selling the Sheungtafei openly.
It is well known that Chinese automakers go through fire and water to copy foreign brands. They deftly mix multiple designs, and even copy the names of the original brands. For example, the LandWind X7 is an imitation of the British Land Rover. It was ridiculed by the public, since the automaker introduced the model saying it has a “creative” interior design.