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Well, it has happened again. Another Chinese automaker ripoff. This time the victim was Toyota and its new Land Cruiser 300 Series. Great Wall Motors calls their Land Cruiser copy “Tank 500.” Unfortunately, intellectual property theft is alive and well in China. 

The “Tank 500” follows in a long line of Chinese copies

2022 Great Wall Tank 500
2022 Great Wall Tank 500 | GWM

The Tank 500 follows in a long line of car copies including the Porsche Macan, Hummer, and now the Land Cruiser. Great Wall showed off their new Tank 500 at the recent Chengdu Auto Show in China. And the similarities don’t stop with the design.

The length, width, and wheelbase are all identical to the Toyota Land Cruiser. Imagine that? Departures from the Land Cruiser start at the grille. Even the front bumper has similarities to the Land Cruiser. 

The wheel arches are what separates the Land Cruiser from the Tank 500

2022 Great Wall Tank 500
2022 Great Wall Tank 500 | GWM

From the side, the wheel arches and wheel opening details are more conventional on the Tank 500. The Land Cruiser is going for more of a squared-off fender bulge than the rounded-off openings of the Tank. Traditionally, Land Cruisers have traditionally had squared-off wheel openings. 

And the kickup at the rear of the DLO is more pronounced on the Tank. The overall profile is virtually identical between the two. Looking at the side section, the Land Cruiser has a much taller body section. The top and side DLO is lower giving the Land Cruiser ironically more of a tank proportion. The Tank’s body flanks are more of a traditional proportion.

For a good off-road candidate, body-on-frame is what you need, and the Tank has it. A coil-spring suspension, front and rear locking diffs, 29.6- and 24-degree departure angles, and 8.8-inch ground clearance is also suited for off-roading excursions. Power is from a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6. It is tied into a 48-volt hybrid system cranking out 349 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. 

Would there have been a better vehicle for Great Wall to copy?

2022 Great Wall Tank 500 interior
2022 Great Wall Tank 500 | GWM

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Great Wall chose a good vehicle to copy. What we’d like to see going forward are more original concepts and explorations. Both Japan and Korea have reached far beyond resorting to plagiarism. It makes for a much more healthy fraternity of designers and offers new directions that all designers might explore. 

Chinese designers would be held in much better standing worldwide in the design community were they to explore rather than copy.