It’s certainly not a new phenomenon: Chinese companies copy models produced by other manufacturers around the world, slap a new name on them and sell them domestically. The method applies to watches, golf clubs, handbags…. and vehicles.
The practice has become somewhat less common in recent years, as the Chinese automotive industry has made efforts to create its own identity, but it still happens. Meet the Foton Big General, which will be presented officially at the Beijing auto show, and is a pretty flagrant copy of the Ford F-150 Raptor.
The images first published on the Ford Authority website show that the Big General (named the Da Jiang jun in China) features a front fascia with angular headlights mounted vertically, and a massive square grille, on which is mounted an oversized Foton logo. The resemblance with the F-150 Raptor is unmistakable. We’ve yet to see an image of the back end released, but we expect it’s the same story there.
Otherwise, the alloy wheels look strangely like those on the Lincoln Navigator. We presume the thinking was, why not kill two birds with one stone and ape not just Ford design elements but Lincoln’s as well. Ford Authority points out, however, that the Big General is not actually as big as the F-150. In fact its dimensions hew more closely to those of the Ford Ranger.
These Chinese-made copies are certainly good for a laugh or two, but the joke is frankly wearing a little thin. Yes, all automakers commonly take inspiration from what competitors do, but there’s a big leap from that to the outright plagiarism practiced here.
Most surprising about this case is that the Big General is made by a brand belonging to the BAIC group, one of the largest automotive groups in China, and a freq uent collaborator of Hyundai and Daimler, parent company of Mercedes-Benz.
We would wager that these partners are a little disconcerted by the existence of the new Big General.