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Under the Chinese “BJ” (Jeep clone)

by David Zatz on

Here we see a Chinese clone of the Jeep — or of the Hummer, your choice. The letters on the grille show its name — yes, we’re serious — it’s the BJ40, and the BJ stands for Beijing Jeep (get your mind out of the gutter — it’s not a CJ with one letter replaced).


Yes, Beijing Jeep is the same name as the first ever US-China joint venture automaker; after it was taken over by Mercedes, the name apparently stayed with the state-owned BAIC Group, Jeep’s old joint-venture partner.  BAIC made 2.25 million vehicles in 2014, and has joint ventures with Hyundai and Mercedes (the latter may have lent them the Beijing Jeep name quite legitimately, if unfairly). The company also purchased Saab to gain its advanced technology. As the former joint-venture partner, BAIC apparently has the right to use the “Beijing Jeep” name.

Anyway, the BJ40 looks more like a Jeep from the side than from the front, with its too-widely-spaced five-slot grille. Have you ever wondered what such a car looks like underneath?


Here’s the independent front suspension, mounted to a cross-member. The ground clearance isn’t particularly Jeep-like, and one has to wonder how (and for how long) it performs, either on-road or off-road.

The BJ40 has a 2.4 liter four-cylinder engine with 141 horsepower and 217 lb-ft of torque, less than any recent Wrangler, but much more than past CJ four-cylinders. Announced in 2009, the BJ40 was released in 2013, with a double wishbone front suspension and multi-link rear. Ground clearance is specified at a respectable 8.3 inches at rest (the Wrangler is 8.7 to 10.2 inches, at rest or in motion). The company also claims a ramp breakover angle of 24°, a departure angle of 33°, and approach angle of 37°, but these claims seem generous at best.

Other “Jeep-like” vehicles made in Asia conform much more closely to Jeep suspension designs, particularly the quite legally made Mahindra & Mahindra cars; the Indian company licensed their design from Willys back in the day, and still make them in roughly the original size, so that they arguably are closer to the original Willys MA military recon vehicles.

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