OPINION | Big General or big replica? Foton's new bakkie looks mighty familiar


• Foton's new Big General looks similar to the Ford F-150.

• The Big General is said to be a mid-size bakkie.

• Foton will officially reveal its new bakkie on 26 September 2020.

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There has been numerous examples over the years of some automakers vehicle designs looking almost like exact replicas of other more popular brands. What this normally has to effect is that carmakers who feel 'infringed', will take said automaker to court for copyright infringements.

A good example is Jaguar Land Rover who challenged Land Wind because the X7 looked achingly similar to the Range Rover Evoque a couple of years ago.

Examples are not just limited to vehicles, but almost everything imaginable under the sun. Jeremy Clarkson, whilst working on Top Gear, once filmed a segment in China in which he said: "I'm speaking to you now from behind a pair of fake Ray-Bans, wearing a fake Armani jacket, carrying a fake Louis Vuitton bag, in which we find a fake iPad and a fake iPhone.

"It seems then that the expression 'copyright infringement' doesn't translate terribly well into Mandarin."

Foton is not too unfamiliar to South Africans. Locally, the automaker sells its Tunland bakkie, available in both single and double-cab configuration. The Tunland has its own unique design and implements a turbocharged 2.8-litre Cummins diesel engine.

This is all well and good, and the bakkie has its own identity.

But Foton pulled a rabbit out of the hat with its new Big General bakkie. Codenamed the Da Jiang Jun, which translates to 'The Big General in Mandarin, the bakkie is believed to be a mid-sized offering, putting it in the same league as the Ford Ranger, according to Ford Authority. However, the design almost mimics that of the bigger Ford F-150.

Foton released images of the Big General earlier this year but did so again a few days ago as it prepares to reveal the bakkie at the upcoming Beijing Auto Show on 26 September. Foton's bakkie is rumoured to be powered by a choice of petrol and diesel engines, all of which will be mated to an eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox.

What do you think of the Foton's Big General design? Please email us your thoughts.

Foton Big General

Foton's Big General (AutoBlog)

Our take

In recent years, China adapted its copyright laws to protect intellectual properties, but designers in the East - and in this case, automakers - are seemingly not too bothered with it. Foton's actions could be interpreted as unethical by the Western world, but the Chinese may see nothing wrong with it.

Jaguar Land Rover, for instance, is still battling with Land Wind in court over the X7, even if patents for both the X7 and Evoque have been withdrawn from the Chinese market. If Ford decides to take on Foton over the Big General's design, they might have a losing battle on their hands.

And unless it is proven in a court of law that the Big General is a carbon copy of the F-150, Foton's newest bakkie will soldier on unhindered.

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