Copycat cars produced in China have been a problem for years now, with Chinese manufacturers scrambling to produce cheaper lookalike versions of cars that buyers will pay a lot of money for. Now, Land Rover’s design chief says the company might hold back showing its concept cars early to at least delay a (likely) inevitable replica.
The design chief, Gerry McGovern, told Autocar that they were “nervous” about showing concepts too early, which could be bad news for the rest of us, or at least those of us who like to see badass new concepts as soon as possible.
“We’re nervous about showing show cars a couple of years out as you can be copied just like that,” McGovern said last week in London at the reveal of the revised Range Rover. He added that there was a need to protect the huge investments that go into the development of new cars, which are anywhere between £500 million and £1 billion, depending on the project.
Land Rover has not shown as many concepts as other brands in recent years. In 2014, it used the Discovery Vision to preview the new family of Discovery models, including the flagship fifth-generation Discovery itself.
It also started the process of replacing the Defender with the 2011 DC100 concept, a model that will now have no bearing on the production car due in 2019. A second, more accurate concept version of the Defender would appear unlikely based on McGovern’s comments, backed up by the fact that there was no concept version of the recent Range Rover Velar, the most recent example of an all-new Land Rover model.
This is smart! And I would be surprised if more automakers aren’t thinking along the same lines, since pretty much no brand is immune. Consider being more original, automakers of China! Or don’t, if you can keep getting away with it.