The Shuanghuan CEO has been put on official notice.
The uproar started at the Frankfurt Motor Show last year when Hebei, the Beijing-based parent company of Shuanghuan, introduced their new SUV, the CEO, to the public. The Shuanghuan, a 4-wheel drive, 5-passenger, 5-door wagon, features a 5-speed manual transmission, and a DOHC 16-valve, 4-cylinder in-line engine.
Oh yeah, and approximately 120-horsepower.
Regardless of the glaring mechanical differences between the CEO and the X5, the CEO apparently bore enough of a resemblance to the BMW X5 at the Frankfurt Auto Show so as to cause the Bavarian auto company’s skin to prickle. Essentially crying highway robbery, BMW filed a lawsuit against Shuanghuan in September 2007 for blatant design and copyright infringement; ultimately seeking to ban the sale of Shuanghuan CEO’s in Germany. In June of 2008, a Munich court sided with BMW and ordered the production and distribution of Shuanghuan CEO’s in Germany to halt immediately. Additionally, all current models of the CEO are to be destroyed and/or permanently removed from German roads. In response to the ruling, Shaunghuan officials assured the public that they would be appealing the decision to the European Union.
The obvious failure in the German market aside, the Shuanghuan has been met with mild success in the rest of the European market and is rumored to be currently evaluating the merits of a North American launch. I say, Hi-Ho Shuanghuan, we Americans love a little bit of scandal.