BMW loses Chinese clone court action
BMW complained that the Shuanghuan CEO large SUV is a clone of the BMW X5. On December 10, a court in Milan rejected BMW's claims. In July, BMW won a similar court case in Munich.
The five-seat CEO is built by Shuanghuan Automobile in Shijiazhuang, which is about 280km southwest of Beijing. The model resembles the first-generation BMW X5 from the side.
"We are convinced the CEO wasn't a clone of the X5. We are happy to see our view supported by a court ruling," said Viviana Martinelli, spokeswoman for Milan-based Martin Motors, which is Shuanghuan's European distributor.
Martin Motors started selling the CEO in Italy and central Europe in early 2007. Martinelli said the company so far has delivered nearly 300 CEOs to its 87 Italian dealers. According to the Italian transport ministry figures, 117 CEOs were registered this year and 65 in 2007.
Sales of the CEO in Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and the Czech Republic will grow to about 1,200 this year from 300 in 2007, Carmen Covrig, general manager of the Romanian importer CEMI Group, said. CEMI Group has a joint venture with Martin Motors.
BMW declined to comment.
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