Great Wall Is Making A VW Beetle Sedan Knockoff

Not all things that were once popular remain that way. Disco comes to mind as something once popular that no longer has any legs. But the iconic VW Beetle has remained popular. Between a healthy enthusiast group restoring and modifying the German sedans and the new iterations from Volkswagen over the last couple of decades, the Bug has many fans. And the Chinese automakers know this. One of them; Great Wall, is getting ready to make its knockoff of the venerable VW.

Is Great Wall allowed to do these Beetle knockoffs?

China’s auto manufacturers have no qualms about making knockoffs. Ford trucks, Jeeps, and other assorted popular vehicles are fair game. Now, with EV platforms that spawn all kinds of different cars without developing entire architectures, it is easier to bang out new models. Rather than wait to see if VW will ever do another version of the Bug, Great Wall isn’t waiting.

China's ORA Beetle knockoff rear view
China’s ORA Beetle knockoff | ORA

It has presented its take on a modern interpretation of the venerable Beetle. And it’s a four-door, no less. We’d like to see a bit thicker body proportions, or slightly slimmer side windows to give the body a bit more mass. But overall, it looks like a modern Beetle, for sure. 

The ORA Good Cat EV platform will underpin the Great Wall Beetle

Great Wall’s electric brand is called ORA and it is expected to give up its Good Cat EV platform for the Beetle. Yes, the “Good Cat” model is a real thing. So the Beetle body has sort of been stretched and contorted to fit the Good Cat architecture. 

Under the Beetle body will be a 143 hp electric motor in the front. It is juiced by either a 47.8 kWh or 59.1 kWh battery pack. The range should be in the neighborhood of 300 miles which hits that range sweet spot. Zero to 60 times will probably be in the four-second zone. 

China's ORA Beetle knockoff interior
China’s ORA Beetle knockoff | ORA

Design cues are in the details that mimic pre-1968 Beetle models

What pushes the Beetle origins along are the details that mimic pre-1968 Beetle design cues.  Those oval taillights are one example. The simple bumpers with over-riders are another. Inside, the steering wheel looks very Beetle-ish. Overall, the interior is very retro with vents and gauges surrounded by heavy chrome bezels. 

No images of the front have been released yet, but we won’t have to wait long. The EV Beetle will be premiered at the Shanghai Auto Show next week. Auto site AutoHome says this new Beetle is aimed primarily at “nostalgic women buyers.” We didn’t know Chinese women were particularly nostalgic for VW Beetles. 

Volkswagen has a large presence in China

Volkswagen has a large presence in China, though it is not affiliated with Great Wall. If it had plans to do an EV Beetle it may have intellectual property issues with the ORA Beetle. Even if it doesn’t have plans it might have legal issues to present. We can say that for as long as it has taken for VW to go from concept to production of its retro-transporter ID. Buzz we wouldn’t hold our breath for a new EV Bug. 

China's ORA Beetle knockoff rendering
China’s ORA Beetle knockoff | ORA

6 Things We’ll Miss About the Volkswagen Beetle

The ID. Buzz is taking years to develop. We often wonder if it really is slated for production as VW keeps putting off its intro date. In the US that has been pushed back to 2023 or even 2024. This from a concept that was first introduced in 2017. It really shouldn’t take seven to eight years to develop a vehicle-especially when it shares an EV platform that has already been developed. 

To that end, we’ll only say that the ID. Buzz better be an extraordinary vehicle for the development time put into it. As for the ORA Beetle, we may see it before the ID. Buzz. Now, if we could only see it in the US.