Gearheads know that auto manufacturers love a bit of hyperbole – terms like “class-leading,” “first-ever,” and “iconic” are bandied about with the level of wild abandon normally reserved for freshman-year college parties. A recent report from China, however, takes the proverbial cake.
Some vehicles built in China bear a remarkable similarity to other machines already in production by Western companies. The ginormous Landwind X7 could just maybe be mistaken for a Range Rover Evoque, while the Lifan 320 looks as if someone tried to describe a modern MINI Cooper over the telephone. A telephone with a poor connection, actually.
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The original Beijing Auto BJ80 showed up about two years ago singing from the Book of Mercedes, Chapter Geländewagen, Verse G63. Since then, various civilian models have been cranked out of the factory, with beefy versions pressed into military use.
According to a source in China, that country’s military has rated its own BJ80 SUV as the “most reliable off-road vehicle in the world” after the four-wheel drive model achieved test scores that were a reported seven times higher than those of a particular yet unnamed Mercedes-Benz SUV.
Most reliable in the world? That’s quite a statement
It should be noted that, given the location of testing and who conducted it, this is akin to a proud parent declaring the cookies their own child made in the E-Z Bake Oven to be “the best in the world.” Or declaring yourself the winner of a karaoke contest.
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A Chinese media site has published a quote from an engineering researcher at Hunan University that ratchets the rhetoric up to eleven. From the site:
“It is an incredibly high score considering the ordeals it had to go through,” said Song Kai, an associate researcher specialising in automobile structural fatigue at the College of Mechanical and Vehicle Engineering at Hunan University in central China.
“In the military proving ground, a vehicle can age 10 times faster than in a normal environment,” said Song, who was not involved in the BJ80 project. “If the result is correct, the vehicle might have passed the entire reliability test with only two or three failures. For a mass production model, it is almost a miracle.”
For now, your author will reserve that particular word for advances in medicine, not tests of off-road trucks.
China produced more than 29 million motor vehicles last year, equivalent to the number built by the United States, Japan, Germany and India combined, according to a Paris-based outfit that tracks those types of numbers.