Ford takes legal action against Chinese company over knockoff F-150

JAC 4R3 Ford F-150 copy front three-quarter viewNo one likes a copycat, especially when it comes to car design. Car companies are often accused of having derivative styling, but what happens when one company literally copies another? The JAC 4R3 looks a lot like a Ford F-150, which is why Ford blocked the Chinese company from selling it.

“Not going to happen,” said Bill Coughlin, president and CEO of Ford Global Technologies in an interview with Autoline. In the past, other car companies have found it difficult to protect their designs from Chinese copiers, but Ford was not phased. “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 [in the United States].”

In the past, foreign companies filing claims of copyright infringement in China were usually defeated by the government, which sided with domestic carmakers. The Chinese government also requires foreign carmakers to partner with domestic companies, which does force companies like Ford to divulge information they normally would not. However, JAC is not one of Ford’s Chinese partners, so the Blue Oval had solid legal justification.

Given the Chinese government’s past behavior, it is likely that Ford had a little help. The government may have sided with Ford this time. It remains to be seen whether JAC will respect the decision, or build its knock off F-150 anyway.2011 ford f 150 platinum review

The 4R3 is an eerie facsimile of Ford’s popular truck. It looks like the unlicensed toy cars sold in pharmacies; there are no Ford badges, but it is obvious what vehicle this is supposed to be. Even the JAC badge is a copy: it’s a blue oval. However, underneath the skin, the 4R3 has little in company with the F-150. The Chinese truck is powered by a pathetic 2.8-liter diesel that only makes 108 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. That’s nothing compared to the real F-150’s range of V6 and V8 engines, or even a 1.8-liter Toyota Corolla, which has 132 hp.

Ford is not the first foreign carmaker to have its designs copied in Chinas. In 2006, Shijiazhuang Shuanghuan came out with an SUV called the SCEO that aped the BMW X5. BMW sued in China, and lost, but the SCEO was ruled a fraud by the German government. Shuanghuan also made a Smart Fortwo knock off called the Noble.

Smart’s micro car rival, the Mini Cooper, was also run through the photocopier, creating the Lifan 320. Designs from Mercedes, Scion, and Chevy were also reproduced by Chinese companies. The Chinese copies are usually cheaper (a 2006 X5 cost about $50,000; an SCEO was $19,000), but not as well made. Hopefully Ford’s victory will force these Chinese carmakers to come up with their own ideas.

Product Review

BMW’s smallest M car is its biggest performance statement

The BMW M2 Competition is frighteningly quick in a straight line, and its short wheelbase lends itself to some hilarious power slides, but it’s the curvy roads and tight tracks where this coupe comes alive.
Cars

2019 Ford F-150 RTR gets a light dose of off-road, style upgrades

Vaughn Gittin Jr.'s RTR Vehicles is turning its attention to the 2019 Ford F-150 pickup truck. RTR gave Ford's bestseller new suspension components and tires, as well as more extroverted exterior styling.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in March, from Buster Scruggs to Roma

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Cars

From rugged wagons to hot sports cars, the 2019 NY Auto Show brought it all

From city cars to supercars, anything goes at the New York Auto Show. Automakers from all over the globe traveled to the 2019 show to unveil their newest concept cars and production models.
Cars

2020 Nissan 370Z Special Edition celebrates 50 Years of the Z car

Nissan is celebrating 50 years of its iconic "Z car" with a special edition of the 2020 370Z. The 50th-anniversary model is dressed to look like a 1970s race car, but remains technically unchanged.
Cars

Tesla rushes investigators to China to figure out why a parked Model S exploded

Tesla has sent a team of in-house investigators to Shanghai to determine why an early Model S suddenly exploded and caught fire. The electric sedan was parked before the fire started, and the cause of the blaze remains unknown.
Cars

Google Maps now shows EV owners which charging stations are occupied

Google has just beefed up its Maps app with extra data to help EV owners find the nearest charging station. Drivers can also find out about the number and types of ports available, and whether they're occupied.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Tesla taxis, NYC auto show, and Sony’s 8K TV

On the latest episode of DT Live, we discuss Tesla's autonomous taxi plans, a Face ID lawsuit against Apple,, choosing imperfect produce, the release of Mortal Kombat 11, sustainable fashion, and more.
Cars

Keep your driving record squeaky clean with these top-flight radar detectors

Nobody likes getting a speeding ticket, but these gadgets can help. Check out our picks for the best radar detectors on the market, from the likes of Valentine One, Escort, and Beltronics.
Buying Guides

The best hatchbacks for 2019 are small in size and big on tech

The hatchback segment isn't huge, but there are still plenty of good options to choose from. Here, we've rounded up the best hatchbacks available in America, whether you're a fan of efficiency or looks.
Apple

WWDC 2019 Complete Coverage

Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference is a key tech event each year, and for Apple fans, it will be one of the two best times of 2019 (along with "new iPhone day," of course). For the last few years, Apple has debuted much of its…
Cars

GPS units aren't dead! Our favorite models still do things your phone can't

Love hitting the open road but hate having to rely solely on your phone for getting around? Thankfully, the best in-car GPS systems will allow you to navigate and capitalize on a range of features sans your cellular network. Here are our…
Cars

Tesla Model S and Model X charge faster and go farther with the same battery

An all-new drivetrain for the Tesla Model S and X enables the EVs to travel farther per charge than the previous design. Tesla Model S Long Range sedans have a 370-mile range and Model X Long Range SUVs can travel 325 miles per EPA cycle.