You know the expression: “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. Well, everything indicates that it is the Mini brand’s turn to receive its share of “flattery”.
Indeed, the phenomenon of car copies in the Chinese market is not new. Several internationally known models have been copied by local manufacturers, including the Volkswagen Beetle or even the Land Rover Evoque, to name but two. This time, we are talking about the classic Mini, the patent of which was filed by Beijing Estech Technology Co, a division owned by engineering firm IAT and SUV manufacturer Karlmann King.
It should be noted that this copy of the old Mini – this version of the car was assembled until 2000 by the way – will not be powered by a small combustion engine housed between the two front wheels. No, instead of this combustion engine, there will be an electric motor powered by a battery pack installed under the floor of the car.
The rendered drawings published on the web show a Mini quite faithful to the model launched at the end of the 50s, the proportions being very close to those of the Mini imagined by Alec Issigonis, although the hood seems a bit more plunging than in the good old days. The car is also full of chrome components (bumpers, wipers, mirrors) and retro-looking wheels.
Very few details are available on this copied classic Mini. Moreover, the car has no official name if we trust the article published on carnewschina.com.
The dimensions of the clone would be different from the original car though, with four seats. Let’s bet that the underfloor battery made it difficult for the designers, as space is limited on board the city car. It’s much easier to fit a large battery pack into a large vehicle.
The arrival of this classic Mini clone comes at the right time, as the British carmaker is about to start production of its own electric MINI Cooper, the car to be assembled by the GWM-Mini consortium for the Chinese market.