China is now attempting to copy the iconic MINI

The Chinese copycat MINI shares the same general body shape as the original, as well as heaps of details from older models.

by | Published on 10th Feb 2023

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. 

READ MORE: The Ferrari Testa Rossa J is a fully-electric mini racer

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.


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.



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Adam Gray is an experienced motoring journalist and content creator based in the United Kingdom. Using his media accreditation with motor manufacturers’ press offices, Adam test drives the latest cars and attends new vehicle press launches, producing written reviews and news pieces for supercarblondie.com. Before joining the Supercar Blondie team, Adam was Motoring Editor for Portfolio North magazine, North East Motoring Editor at Reach plc, and provided motoring content on a freelance basis to several lifestyle and business publications in the North of England. When he’s not behind the wheel of the latest car, Adam can be found at his local rink playing ice hockey or supporting his beloved Middlesbrough FC.

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