Chinese Car Maker Says it is Not Copying German Rivals

DaimlerChrysler and BMW have threatened legal action against Shuanghuan Auto for allegedly making copies of their own models.

A Chinese car company, Shuanghuan Auto, on Aug. 29 rejected accusations that it had copied DaimlerChrysler and BMW models, insisting authorities in China had approved its vehicles. The German car makers have threatened legal action against Shuanghuan Auto for allegedly making copies of their own models, the Financial Times reported.

DaimlerChrysler reportedly said it would consider unspecified legal action if Shuanghuan Auto showed its Noble, which the German group says resembles its Smart Fortwo, at next month's Frankfurt motor show.

BMW also said it was considering legal action against the importer of another Shuanghuan car -- the CEO -- which it claims resembles a previous version of its X5 sports utility vehicle that was discontinued last year.

"Noble and CEO cars, approved by the Chinese government, are legal products," a spokesman with Shuanghuan Auto based in northern China's Hebei province told AFP. "The media is hyping things to make their stories more exciting."

The spokesman, who declined to be named, said the Noble was currently only sold on the domestic market, while the CEO was being exported to countries in Africa and Southeast Asia. He said his department had not received any notice from company management that Shuanhuan was going to have a presence at the Frankfurt motor show next month.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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