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When you can’t find talent at home, you look abroad. It’s a common enough strategy, and it’s one that has been keeping the lights on at legendary Pininfarina in recent years.

While it is perhaps known best for its work with Ferrari, many will quickly sing the praises of Pininfarina’s design and production work with the likes of Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Fiat, Lancia, BMW, Volvo – not to mention Mitsubishi, Cadillac and Chevrolet, among others.

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But, away from Europe and America, since 1996 Pininfarina’s clients have included Asian marques such as Daewoo, Chery, JAC and Brilliance – again, among others.

This latest effort, the small South East Motor DX3, debuted at this month’s Guangzhou Motor Show in China.

Pininfarina, now owned by Indian giant Mahindra, says the DX3 draws its inspiration from “the artistic conception of Chinese Calligraphy, creating a design of perfect balance between vigor, sport and power.”

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Although not confirmed, the DX3 was likely designed at Pininfarina’s Shanghai studio, which opened in 2010.

The DX3’s unveiling follows last year’s debut of the larger DX7, and SEM says it will develop more SUVs with Pininfarina over the next five years.

The SEM DX3 is not expected to come to Australia, but it could represent another demonstration of the Chinese motoring industry’s improving – if still lately imitational – aesthetic.

MORE: CarAdvice’s Top 5 small SUVs 




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