is this the weirdest chinese car design yet? 2023 wey yuan meng is part volkswagen beetle, part old saab and a little too much chrysler pt cruiser
The Wey Yuan Meng is now ready for production after being shown last year in prototype guise.

When it comes to controversial automotive designs, there have been some doozies from China over the years.

There’s been a number of famous knock offs, like the Range Rover Evoque-aping Landwind X, or Lifan’s Mini COoper knock off.

But Great Wall Motors’ premium brand Wey has ripped the covers from a new production model that seems to be inspired by a number of retro models.

The Yuan Meng was revealed last year in prototype guise, but the automotive giant has just uncovered the production-ready model at the Chengdu motor show.

To our eye, the Yuan Meng is a cross between an original Volkswagen Beetle and a Saab 96 from the 1960s, with a touch of Chrysler PT Cruiser thrown in for good measure.

What makes the chrome-heavy Yuan Meng so odd is that it looks absolutely nothing like its other Wey stablemate models.

Wey serves as GWM’s premium marque and its current stable of SUV models – which includes the caffeine-themed Latte, Mocha and Macchiato – are all quite visually appealing.

They are based on shared underpinnings of models sold here under the GWM Haval SUV brand, but with different bodies and interiors.

Powering the Yuan Meng is a plug-in hybrid powertrain that combines a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine with an electric motor, for a total system output of 177kW/520Nm. It is paired with a nine-speed dual-clutch transmission and is the same powertrain from the Wey Latte.

is this the weirdest chinese car design yet? 2023 wey yuan meng is part volkswagen beetle, part old saab and a little too much chrysler pt cruiser
The Yuan Meng is a cross between an original Volkswagen Beetle, a Saab 96, and Chrysler PT Cruiser. (image credit: China car news)

A more powerful four-wheel drive version and a fully electric version are also on the cards, according to reports.

Another curiosity from the GWM family is from its Ora electric vehicle brand. The Ballet Cat is also an homage to the original Beetle, but with a modern twist.

The Ballet Cat is based on the GWM Ora Punk Cat that also made its debut last year, however the Ballet Cat is aimed at women buyers.

The dimensions put it at around the size of a Toyota Corolla or other small hatchbacks, but as it is an Ora, it has a fully electric powertrain with a driving range of about 500km.

is this the weirdest chinese car design yet? 2023 wey yuan meng is part volkswagen beetle, part old saab and a little too much chrysler pt cruiser
The Ballet Cat is a homage to the original Beetle. (image credit: China car news)

It’s unlikely the Wey Yuan Meng or the Ora Ballet Cat will be offered outside China.

Whole GWM’s Australian operation is still yet to make any official announcement, the Chinese parent company announced its intentions to launch Ora in Australia via a press releases late last year.

The first Ora model to land in 2023 will be the Cat, which is a small hatchback, but another model is expected to join it. That could be the Lightning Cat which is an all-electric sedan.

GWM’s Wey brand on the other hand has been ruled out for Australia.

GWM is becoming known for its daring design. Models already on sale here like the GWM Haval H6 have taken on a decidedly European flavour, while others like teh Tank 300 and 500 have a more rugged American vibe. Then there’s the Big Dog which also has a rugged look but lacks the off-road capabilities of the Tank models.

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