The look of the two cars appears identical, raising questions whether another Chinese carmaker will face allegation of copying designs of cars from around the world.
Fengsheng Automotive Technology, a subsidiary of Chinese auto giants Kandi and Geely, has announced the new Maple 30x electric crossover. The manufacturer positions it as a compact city SUV.
This is the first car under the new Maple brand, but several more cars are expected this year, including an SUV and MPV.
The 30x model is a compact SUV with a 70 kW engine. The company claims the Maple 30X electric car has a range of 306 km or 190 miles on a single charge. It can also be fast-charged up to 80 percent in 30 minutes.
The electric car has a fashionable two-tone exterior design with a contrasting black roof. The integrated infotainment system, equipped with the Maple 30X GKUI Intelligent System, provides a combination of entertainment and information to enhance car comfort.
What is interesting is the design of the car, which will remind one of Tata Nexon. The most distinct similarity between the two is the grille and the bonnet which integrate with the headlights. The two-tone look also makes the Maple 30X look like a twin version of the Tata Nexon. Even the range of the Maple 30X is in the same league of Tata Nexon.
What sets the Maple 30X apart from Tata Nexon is the price. Fengsheng Automotive says that the pre-sale price after subsidies starts at 68,800 yuan (around ₹7.4 lakh), and goes up to 79,800 yuan (around ₹8.6 lakh) for the top end variant. This is around ₹5 lakh less than the price of Tata Nexon.
Chinese car companies have had a bad name of replicating designs of popular cars around the world. Copying designs of popular cars is quite a common allegation made against several Chinese automakers. Corporate espionage has often also involved illegally transferring technological know-how. Recently, Chinese startup Xpeng, backed by Alibaba, has been accused of 'stealing' Tesla's Autopilot secrets and is embroiled in a legal battle currently. Xpeng is among the startups in China competing with Tesla on autonomous-driving development.
The second Maple model, an all-electric MPV, is scheduled for the third quarter, but there are no details about the car yet. According to the product launch plan, a medium-sized SUV, a mini-hatchback and an ultra-mini-hatchback are planned for 2021. By 2025, other models of various sizes will gradually enter the market, and Maple wants to serve many segments from the smallest car to a large SUV. The Chinese manufacturer also announced the release of an electric pickup truck and an electric roadster.