The problem wouldn't be a big deal if China Automobile Deutschland wasn't planing to bring the car to Europe, but thats exactly what they intend to do, and Mercedes, owner of the Smart brand, isn't all too happy about it.
From what we can tell, the new microcar is nearly identical to the Smart ForTwo, except that it has four seats (don't ask how they managed to fit four seats in there). Legal troubles aside, the car is expected to go on sale for around 7,000 euros (~$12,000 AUD) in October.
When confronted with the issue, China Automobile Deutschland Managing Director Klaus Schlössl argued it wasn't worth getting upset about:
Similar to each other? How does identical sound? If what he said was true, and it's not, we would like to see the Chinese building Ferrari Enzo clones, even if they are powered by a 2.0-litre engine - they should still look good! - and since they are in a different class in terms of quality, that should be okay...
In response, Mercedes has let loose their team of overpaid lawyers to bring the Chinese company to its knees:
Although Chinese cars have copied Western designs for decades, we have to ask, why would anyone want to copy Smart ForTwo?