Top 10 cases of 'coincidental' automotive design

"You can copy my homework but just change it so it doesn't look obvious".

7w ago
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It's no secret that car designers sometimes "borrow" styling elements from other vehicles, both internally within the brand and from other manufacturers. Sometimes, however, it's just pure coincidence that two cars share a similar design and silhouette... or so the designers say. Critique aside, some of these vehicles are great purchases so do not be dissuaded.

10. Mahindra Thar and Jeep Wrangler

Since Mahindra holds a license to manufacture a few old Jeep models, selling the 2021 Mahindra Thar that resembles a TJ Wrangler in India is not an issue. However, Australia recently banned the Thar from importation and marketing after Jeep took Mahindra to court over the similarities. On the same grounds, the Mahindra Roxor was temporarily banned in the US.

9. Mazda MX-5 and Suzuki Cappuccino

The Cappuccino is a lighter, cuter copycat of the NB Miata, right? Wrong. Suzuki put the Kei car into production in 1991 whilst the NB wasn't unveiled until 1997. Though the front and rear of both cars seem similar, the sizes and side profiles are entirely different. Both cars are seem to be an affordable way to conquer a canyon road with the roof down.

8. Hyundai Equus and Mercedes-Benz S-Class

S-Class image accredited to M 93 via Wikimedia Commons

S-Class image accredited to M 93 via Wikimedia Commons

The Equus was a handsome luxury sedan back in the day and could be optioned with a smooth Tau V8 engine. It received much praise from the press at the time and used prices today are very reasonable. However, you cannot unsee the resemblance from the W221 S-Class that predates it.

7. MG HS and Mazda CX-5

The 5-star Euro NCAP and value proposition of the MG HS is quite impressive and goes to show how far Chinese manufacturers have come in the last decade. What's not so impressive is the Mazda CX-5 stencil used to trace the face and silhouette of the car. Then again, MG have given the HS a different grille, lower fog lights and thicker headlights to help differentiate it from the CX-5.

6. Kia K9 and Bentley Flying Spur

Either I'm blind as a bat or the new Flying Spur's rear shares some resemblance with the luxurious 2018 Kia K9 (K900 in US and Canada). Both cars are full-size luxury sedans with wide rear exhaust tips and 'two-bar' taillights, which are outlined in chrome on both cars. Nevertheless, the Flying Spur is an attractive sight to behold.

Edit: There is also a hint of Mercedes in the rear of the K9.

5. Aston Martin DBX and Ford Escape

The fourth-gen Ford Escape made its debut months before the DBX and both cars had different designers. Did Ford make a great looking SUV or did Aston design a car for a soccer parent instead of James Bond? And yes, Ford have been 'borrowing' the Aston grille since the divorce but several other design elements were nailed by the Escape before the DBX was even unveiled.

4. Genesis GV80 and Bentley Bentayga

Okay fine, both cars were designed under the leadership of the same exterior designer (SangYup Lee). However, does that warrant the GV80's similarities to the Bentayga? Well, that is for you to decide. Both cars achieve a posh appearance with creases and curves in the same places and oval exhausts. Thankfully, the similarities are less obvious with the facelifted Bentayga and the Genesis' headlights are nowhere near similar to Bentley's.

3. Toyota Celica and Ford Mustang

Celica accredited to Closed 24/7 via Flickr, Mustang accredited to sv1ambo via Wikimedia Commons

Celica accredited to Closed 24/7 via Flickr, Mustang accredited to sv1ambo via Wikimedia Commons

Toyota was targeting the North American market with the Celica in an attempt to steal sales from the 1964 Ford Mustang. It's the 1973 "Liftback" model in Japan that is under the spotlight today though. From its muscular shape to the taillights, it's no wonder that the car was often dubbed as the "Japanese Mustang".

2. Kia Amanti and Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Amanti image accredited to IFCAR via WIkimedia Commons

Amanti image accredited to IFCAR via WIkimedia Commons

To put it simply: a Kia walked into a dark alley and asked for a face transplant to look like a W210/W211 Mercedes E-Class. There was also another variant of the Amanti that had a Jaguar S-Typey grille, so clearly the Korean marque was gunning for a posh appearance back in the early 2000s. It's great that Kia has now found its own identity.

1. Landwind X7 and Range Rover Evoque

Landwind image accredited to Rutger van der Maar via Flickr

Landwind image accredited to Rutger van der Maar via Flickr

There are countless cases of "oopsies, we accidentally came out with the same design" from car manufacturers in China. You would need to dedicate an entire article to them but the 2017 Landwind X7 is so shameless that it ranks first on this list. After many hurdles, Jaguar Land Rover were successful with their claim against Landwind at the Beijing Chaoyang District Court in 2019.

What is your favourite 'borrowed' automotive design?

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Comments (68)

  • Watch the yt vid of Donut Media. They covered the history of Aston Martin and Ford.

      1 month ago
  • secretly likes Kia better...

      1 month ago
  • the mustang double is a nice one, but nowadays I think soo many cars just look like clones of each other. designed to sell, not to stand out, mostly. and no, I don't think either of the "doubles" was coincidental. C'mon.

      1 month ago
    • The MX-5 definitely was a coincidence. Mazda made big stacks back in the 90's, no need to steal Suzuki's design. They had the RX-7 for example, they partnered with Ford, they had the 121 mini-sedan, they had the friggin' Eunos Cosmo, a large...

      Read more
        1 month ago
    • You can pick up Celica Liftbacks for quite a reasonable sum too (in the US at least).

      And you're right, most of these are hardly "coincidences". Calling them that is just my polite way of shaming the designers ;)

        1 month ago
  • The Thar and the Landwind are by far the most obvious.

      1 month ago
  • I agree with all but the Ford/Aston Martin case, simply because it is a known fact that from the early 2000’s, Ford has been intentionally trying to water down Aston Martins design language because of the messy divorce between Ford and Aston… It’s no coincidence. It is aggressively intentional!

      1 month ago
    • "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery"... or insult as it turns out!

      Indeed, Ford and Aston aren't exactly the best of friends but it's just interesting (or predictable) that Ford nailed the 'DBX look' with the Escape before the...

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        1 month ago
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