중앙데일리

Chinese company copies Santa Fe SUV, legally

Apr 29,2009
Rongcheng Huatai’s “San-Da-I-Fe”
At this week’s Shanghai Motor Show, China’s biggest auto event, a company called Rongcheng Huatai Automobile unveiled a new car called “Rover” in English.

The automobile’s local name, however, is pronounced “San-da-i-fe.”

Doesn’t that sound familiar?

To a reporter’s eyes, the car looks, and sounds, strikingly similar to the first-generation Santa Fe, an SUV made by Hyundai Motor, Korea’s largest automaker.

In fact, market watchers say the car - including its 2.7-liter gasoline engine - is actually 99 percent identical to the old Santa Fe model.

Some Koreans participating in the event wondered aloud whether it was yet another Hyundai clone.

Turns out, it is. But, surprisingly, it’s legal, according to Hyundai.

The Korean auto giant said Rongcheng Huatai acquired the rights to sell the Santa Fe.

In addition to the rights, Hyundai sold the vehicle’s overall design and engine, allowing the Chinese company to develop its own version of the car.

Hyundai stopped producing the old model when it released a new Santa Fe in March 2006.

According to Hyundai officials, the company decided to enter into such a contract because it is difficult to prevent Chinese carmakers from copying its products.

The first-generation Santa Fe was a big hit at the time. Hyundai released it to the market in 2000, eventually selling 790,000 Santa Fe SUVs in Korea.

Overseas sales hit around 320,000.

But Chinese manufacturers quickly began cloning Hyundai cars, eroding the company’s sales.

“There is no chance the design drawings of our cars will be leaked by insiders, but if auto parts makers in China acquire the design drawings from our Chinese partners and leak them, there is no way to stop them,” said a Hyundai Motor official who requested anonymity.


By Kim Tae-jin [joe@joongang.co.kr]



dictionary dictionary | 프린트 메일로보내기 내블로그에 저장