The original MINI is considered an icon of 1960s British popular culture.
Built for four decades and sold during six, over five million were sold during its 41-year lifespan.
So, it’s no wonder others are trying to replicate that success.
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This is where Beijing Estek Technology comes in.
The company submitted a patent to China’s State Intellectual Property in May 2022 for a car that looked disturbingly like a classic MINI.
Unsurprisingly, the Chinese copycat MINI was knocked back.
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But what did they expect when it combined the general body shape of the original Mini, along with its concealed door hinges?
It even displayed details of older MINIs, like the radiator grille, rear lights, and rear license plate lamp.
It was definitely taking the phrase ‘you don’t need to reinvent the wheel’ a bit too seriously.
Technical details were also sketchy – probably another reason it got back-heeled – but Car News China reported that it likely had a front-mounted electric motor driving the front wheels.
Ok, so the copy car was intended to be an EV which makes sense to a certain degree.
Patent drawings of the vehicle show that, just like the original, it has an exposed fuel filler cap, but we presume that it’s actually an EV charging port.
BMW’s legal department is clearly on the ball, as it quickly got wind of the plans and only a few months later, filed a request to invalidate the patent application.
According to Chinese car news website, Autohome, the State Intellectual Property Office just announced it’s sided with the German automaker.
Beijing Estek Technology has three months to appeal the decision should it wish to.
It’s clearly the right decision and, if it’s got any sense, the company will leave it at that.
That being said, we can’t help feeling a little disappointed the Chinese classic MINI won’t be going into production.