The not-from-WM-Motor render, blurred. Credit: Unknown?

Last week we saw our first images of what we thought were billion-dollar Chinese auto startup WM Motor’s first cars, and quickly realized they were, in fact, photoshops of a Mitsubishi. Now, WM Motor denies that those renderings were its own.

WM has fully disavowed all of these renderings in a strongly-worded official statement which I will include in full:

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We here refer to the recent alleged concept design images of WM Motor distributed over the Internet.

As an innovative electric vehicle company, WM Motor has always been paying extra attention to defenses and protections of our intellectual properties. The design process for WM Motor is strictly confidential. We have completed most of the contractual arrangements with our supplying partners. The construction for our first intelligent industry park for WM Motor’s electric vehicles has already started at Oujiangkou District, Wenzhou City in Zhejiang Province of China. The construction site will occupy approximately 165 acres. Our first EV product will be launched in 2018. We are pleased to announce all related works have been progressing timely. WM Motors independently owns the intellectual properties that are related to its innovations and products.

Any alleged concept design images mentioned over the internet are NOT related to WM Motor to any extent. WM Motor will not hesitate to take immediate legal actions against those ungrounded reports or distributions should they cause defamation, infringement or any other harm to WM Motor.

We hereby confirm that all official updates will be firstly released at our official homepage http://www.wm-motor.com. We sincerely thank you for your attentions!

WM Motor Technology Co., Ltd.

2nd December 2016

What’s odd is these images were first circulated on some big time Chinese websites as official a full week before they made the news in English media. Once Electrek spotted that there was, ahem, some overlap between them and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, then WM stepped in. And nearly every car outlet in existence ran with the story.

So it’s somewhat unclear to me exactly what happened. Either these were renderings distributed by some big Chinese websites that WM didn’t bother arguing against until the press turned bad, or WM made these renderings but didn’t want them distributed in the media, or there was some other misunderstanding, or someone else is completely walking back what they said before.

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Either way, WM says it wants nothing to do with these images, and I’m genuinely amazed. I’ve never seen anything like this in the car world before.