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CHINA'S PLAYING ITS OWN VERSION OF 'GRAND THEFT AUTO'
[This excerpt is from my recent oped in the Austin American-Statesmen]
China's auto pirates are so bold and brash they would make Blackbeard blush. They continue to utter denial upon denial of any wrongdoing with the straightest of faces as they blatantly and flagrantly steal vehicle designs across the entire manufacturing spectrum.
Today, the compact SUV Honda CR-V is being faithlessly replicated by China's Laibao S-RV. Toyota's land cruiser Prado SUV has been cloned as the Dadi Shuttle. The luxury Mercedes C-class has been reincarnated as the Geely Meerie. The Rolls-Royce Phantom has a bastard twin in the Hongqi HQD. Even big bus liners are not immune, with Neoplan's Starliner now carbon copied as the Zonda A9. In what might be darkly comical under other circumstances, China is also producing a variety of "Frankenstein cars" that feature the front end of one car, the back end of another, and still other features from other cars.
China's grand theft auto is not only outrageous. It is a tragedy waiting to happen.
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