Mercedes' Chinese Partner BAIC Blatantly Copies B-Class with New BC301Z

Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corp., commonly known by the acronym BAIC, is one of Mercedes-Benz's partners in China. However, that didn't stop the Chinese automaker, which has acquired the intellectual rights for Saab's older 9-5 and certain 9-3 models, to rip off the design of Mercedes' B-Class for its new BC301Z five-door hatchback and to a lesser extent, the BC302Z sedan.

The styling similarities are not only concentrated on the outside with the profile line, V-shaped grille, headlamp and bumper designs, but are continued inside with the dashboard.

Fortunately for Mercedes, that's not the case with the drivetrain as the 4.038mm long BC301Z hatchback will be offered in China with a choice of two Mitsubishi-sourced gasoline engines, a 1.3-liter unit linked to a five-speed manual and a 1.5-liter powerplant hooked up to a CVT. The five-door model will be followed next year by a four-door sedan (BC302Z) and station wagon (BC303Z) variant.

Photos: Auto-Sohu

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