Ford's legal team has stepped in to ban Chinese manufacturer Jianghuai Auto Corporation (JAC) from producing its Ford F-150 pick-up lookalike.
Revealed earlier this year, the JAC 4R3 was scheduled to make its public debut at last month's 2012 Beijing motor show but was stopped in its tracks by Ford, which disapproved of the ute’s blatant likeness to its top-selling F-Series.
Shown in these images, JAC’s F-150 clone featured a square front grille, two-step headlights, taillight layout, and – perhaps the icing on the cake for Ford – the blue oval badge.
The biggest difference between the two cars could be their powertrains. While the American truck is available with a 306kW/588Nm 6.2-litre V8, the JAC packes a slightly less brawny 81kW 2.8-litre four-cylinder diesel.
Ford global technologies president and CEO Bill Coughlin told Autoline the company’s legal team dealt with the issue quickly and cleanly.
"There were a couple of press reports that at the Beijing Auto Show there's going to be an F-150 clone,” Coughlin said. “It didn't happen. Not going to happen."
A number of global car makers, including BMW, Daimler and Fiat, have fought legal battles against Chinese manufacturers that have ripped off their designs, although the practice is still relatively widespread.
Coughlin said protecting the brand’s vehicle designs around the world was challenging but worthwhile.
"We can protect ourselves in China. It’s not easy, but you can do it.
“Is it expensive? Not really, I mean, it would be less than filing here [in the US]."
"You need patents and they are country specific, so you need to get patents filed in China as well, and frankly, we built up quite a portfolio in trying to protect us. You don't see Ford being ripped off in China."
Some of the more famous Chinese clone cars include the Geely GE (Rolls-Royce Phantom), Lifan 320 (Mini Cooper) and the Shuanghuan Noble (Smart Fortwo), all pictured below.