Sometimes I get so frustrated with the automotive aftermarket because there is such a lack of respect for people’s life work of design and engineering. I continue to watch companies go bankrupt because the knockoff brands out there (you know who they are) just kill the market and make it nearly impossible for original companies to survive. Being a small aftermarket tuner who manufacturers original parts just doesn’t make sense in this environment…it is almost impossible to make a profit because production costs are so high to R&D parts. I know because I’ve passed on probably 20 chances now to start my own brand, the numbers just never made sense to do it. Actually, worse than that…one of the most talented designers I know is out of work right now for this same reason. The man’s life work is design and now he’s considering at working at a restaurant instead. I cant describe how depressing it is to know of his talent and yet know of his inability to continue his life’s work because the “enthusiasts” in the industry supported knockoffs instead of original parts like his. (I’m not saying names out of respect, so please don’t ask or comment about it…this story exists in multiple cases he surely is not the only one)
In general I don’t find knockoffs funny because in the context of the automotive aftermarket, the companies getting damaged by knockoffs of their goods are usually too small to survive the damage without huge problems (aside from the Nismos, TRDs and Mugens with big enough budgets to continue on).
Yet with all that being said, I can at times be amused by knockoffs in cases where nobody gets hurt too badly. In this case Bentley must be covering their heads in embarassment as they view the upcoming Hautai manufacturered unnamed car. No doubt this will still hurt Bentley’s image a bit, but I’m sure they’ll ultimately be fine. If anything, this hurts the image of Chinese automakers who are poised to inevitably enter the US and overseas markets. In their quest to become a legitimate source for world wide production vehicles this is a real setback to the image of Chinese car manufacturers.
(I wonder if Hautai is also one of the companies making those Top Secret, umm I mean… “TS Style” knockoff hoods that have eroded Top Secret’s hood sales over the years)
Here’s a front shot of the Hautai “B Style” as I’ll call it. At least the front is a little different.
Original Source: http://www.autoblog.com/2009/05/12/chinas-hautai-reportedly-readying-bentley-continental-knockoff/