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The intellectual property battle continues as more and more Chinese cars make their way to Europe. The car at the centre of attention today is the Chinese-built minicar, better know as “the bubble”.

Originally planned for for the Bologna auto show today, the car has a remarkably similar shape to the Smart ForTwo, resulting in Daimler (parent of Smart) initiating legal action against the car’s importer, Martin Motors.

Although Martin Motors was under court orders not to display the vehicle, the car was briefly shown to a group of journalists so that the company could clear its name.

We want everyone to see in real life how a four-seat front-engine front-wheel drive minicar differs from a rear-engine rear-wheel drive two-seater,” said Martin Motors spokesperson Viviana Martinelli.

The court now has to rule if the Chinese minicar violates Daimler’s copyright. The decision will set a precedence for Chinese cars destined for European markets.

China’s own Smart ForTwo

If the court rules in favour of the Chinese, the 50kW 1.1-litre Bubble will go on sale in Italy and Romania by the end of December. The car is designed by Shuanghuan cars in Beijing.

The Bubble .vs. Smart ForTwo

What do you think? Does it look like a Smart ForTwo?




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