Does the truck in this photo look familiar? At first glance, it could very well be an upcoming version of a slightly tweaked Ford F-150. Grainy pictures are pretty typical of shots from early in a model’s development. Yet there’s something just a little off about the picture that doesn’t seem quite up to Ford’s standards.
Plus, this style of F-150 has been working American construction sites and cruising U.S. highways for years, so there’s really no reason to hide any minor changes to the body or release teaser pictures.
Obviously, the truck in this picture is not an F-150. But what is it?
It’s a JAC 4R3.
Jianghuai Auto Corporation has just unveiled this pickup, which has surely already piqued the interest of Dearborn’s best lawyers, since it’s a blatant copy of America’s best-selling truck, right down to the blue oval in the grille. JAC wants to peddle the truck to buyers in China, Africa and South America, not unlike the shadowy gentlemen in New York City selling beautiful “Prada” bags out of back alleys.
Truth be told, Chinese copies of popular cars and trucks are nothing new. Just check out these doppelgangers from the 2011 Shanghai Auto Show. The bigger question is this: Are Americans to blame for the ripoffs?
In our never-ending quest to save money, we all continue to support Chinese manufacturing every time we visit a store. Products made in China are nearly unavoidable. Even “American” products, such as many Ford vehicles, are assembled with parts made in the People’s Republic. Only now are lawmakers beginning to press the Obama administration to restrict imports of Chinese-made auto parts, which have surged almost 900 percent since 2001 and contributed to the loss of about 400,000 domestic jobs.
It should really not be a surprise that Chinese car companies use the parts they build anyway and put them in similarly shaped cars of their own. It’s actually pretty smart on their part. It cuts out the middle man: Foreign automakers.
Do you have a problem with so many auto parts coming from China?