BMW’s Chinese partner Brilliance is to launch a BMW X1 lookalike at the Shanghai Motor Show in April – the Brilliance A3
The easy headline would be ‘Brilliance A3 – BMW X1 Clone’. But that would be a little unfair to Brilliance.
Western car makers – as we’ve mentioned many times before – are compelled by Chinese law to partner with a local car maker if they are to trade in China. And BMW partners with Brilliance.
And part of BMW’s partnership with Brilliance now sees the BMW X1 made in China so it can make a real dent in the burgeoning compact SUV market in China.
But Western car makers are obliged to share their technology and tooling with their Chinese partners - a big bone of contention – and it is common for Chinese ‘Clones’ of Western cars to pop up as a cheaper option for the local market.
Many of these ‘Clones’ are in fact as a result of partnerships between East and West, as seems to be the case with the Brilliance A3, although many – like the Chinese Rolls Royce Phantom – are just straightforward plagiarism.
But what of the Brilliance A3? Well, it appears it will be revealed at the Shanghai Motor Show in April and will, of course, be a China-only model.
There are a few cosmetic differences - lights and grill, for example – and although the bodyshell appears to be the same as the X1 the A3 rests on a Brilliance platform.
Power is expected to come from a 1.6 litre Mitsubishi 4-pot already common in Brilliance cars and, most importantly, the price will be significantly lower than the BMW X1.
Probably an acceptable price for BMW to pay for access to the Chinese car market.
Source: China Car Times