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by Tim Beissmann

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and in the case of the new JAC 4R3, the designers of the Ford F-150 should be particularly flattered.

Small Chinese manufacturer Jianghuai Auto Corporation (JAC) revealed the carbon copy pick-up ahead of its expected unveiling at the 2012 Beijing auto show in April.


The similarities – particularly at the front end – are uncanny to say the least, while the blue oval badge pushes the boundaries of coincidence.

The JAC 4R3 will be manufactured in China and sold locally, and could also be exported to Africa and South America. The Ford F-150 is not currently sold in China.

One thing JAC hasn’t copied is the F-Series’ powertrain. While the big Ford truck produces as much as 306kW and 588Nm from a 6.2-litre V8 engine, the 4R3 will make do with an 81kW/240Nm 2.8-litre four-cylinder diesel.

It’s not the first time JAC has cloned big American truck either. The JAC Pick-Up bares a striking resemblance to the Chevrolet Silverado, the F-150’s key rival in the US.

Chinese manufacturers are infamous for creating copy cars. Some of the better-known knock-offs include the BYD S8 Coupe (Mercedes-Benz CLK), Chery QQ (Daewoo Matiz), Shuanghuan Noble (Smart Fortwo) and the Lifan 320 (Mini Cooper).

Honda successfully sued Lifan three times between 2005 and 2008 over its motorcycle designs, including Lifan’s decision to place ‘Hongda’ badges on its bikes.

BMW, Daimler and Fiat have also had success in banning Chinese copy car products from being sold in Germany and the European Union.

Ford has not announced any legal action against JAC at this stage.