China is now the world's largest car market, and when it comes to the country's domestic auto industry, quantity often seems to trump quality.

Chinese cars generally don't match the performance and refinement of the imported models they compete against--though they're commensurately cheaper to buy.

And it's not unheard of for Chinese carmakers simply to copy the styling of Western cars outright.

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To some degree, that seems to be the case with the BYD Yuan--a plug-in hybrid compact crossover utility vehicle from the Warren Buffet-backed company.

Unveiled at the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show, its overall proportions and rear-end styling seem quite similar to the Ford EcoSport, right down to its externally-mounted spare tire.

Smaller than the current Escape, the EcoSport model is now sold only outside the U.S.

BYD Yuan. Photo by Indian Autos Blog.

BYD Yuan. Photo by Indian Autos Blog.

While the Yuan seems to copy the Ford's styling, it at least offers a potentially greener powertrain.

It's powered by a 1.5-liter gasoline engine and two electric motors, one for each axle.

That combination provides enough power to accelerate the little crossover from 0 to 62 mph in a fairly impressive 4.9 seconds, according to Indian Autos Blog.

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On the inside, the Yuan looks like a mashup of different vehicles.

The steering wheel and inclined center stack look like copies of Ford designs, the shifter looks like a poor imitation of the Jaguar F-Type's and the round vents are Mercedes-Benz knockoffs.

The Yuan will reportedly go on sale in China later this year, although BYD won't discuss pricing or fuel economy.

BYD Yuan. Photo by Indian Autos Blog.

BYD Yuan. Photo by Indian Autos Blog.

Shanghai was dominated by plug-in hybrids, as manufacturers look to meet impending fuel-economy standards and take advantage of strong public interest in plug-in cars.

Plug-in hybrids are considered part of the same "New Energy Vehicle" category as battery-electric cars and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles by the Chinese government.

ALSO READ: Buffet's Baby BYD Auto Is a Big Electric-Car Copycat (Feb 2010)

That means they're eligible for the same generous incentives and priority registration in certain crowded cities.

At the same time, buyers don't have to rely on China's spotty charging infrastructure. They get the same perks whether they plug their cars in or not.


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