Chinese automaker Chery has filed a trademark claim against Mercedes-Benz, aimed at stopping the German marque from launching the EQ electric vehicle sub-brand in the world's largest automotive market.
The spokeswoman said: "If [the Mercedes-Benz EQ brand] entered the Chinese market, it would impact our trademark rights. Mercedes-Benz EQ and our eQ are extremely similar. Their product is also an electric car."
Chery sold the eQ, an electric version of its latest QQ city hatch, in China between 2013 and 2015. Chery itself came under the media spotlight with the first-generation QQ or QQ3 hatch, which General Motors claimed was a blatant rip-off of the original Chevrolet and Daewoo Matiz.
If Chery is successful with the case, Mercedes-Benz may be forced to rename its forthcoming EQ models for China or, if it wants to simplify marketing and brand, for the rest of the world too.
Alternatively, the German luxury car maker could negotiate a deal with Chery that would free up the EQ brand in China.
Mercedes-Benz has confirmed with Reuters that it had filed trademark applications for the EQ range, but that it did not have any further news to share.
Between now and 2025, Mercedes-Benz plans on launching 10 EV models, with European trademark applications already filed for EQA, EQC, EQE, EQG, and EQS nameplates, as well as EQ Boost, EQ Inside, and Generation MEQ.