• China’s Military Laughingly Names the BAIC BJ80 as the Most Reliable Off-Road Vehicle

They say it’s even better than an unnamed Mercedes SUV - Probably the G-Class

From a distance and at an angle where you can’t see the grille, the Beijing Auto BJ80 looks exactly like a Mercedes G-Class. It is a blatant automotive design ripoff if we’ve ever seen one - the manufacturer even made a 6x6 version exactly like the one Mercedes also made and sold briefly.

Now it seems that recently the military variant BJ80 (known as the BJ80VJ) has come out way ahead of the model that inspired it... in a reliability test run by the people who built it. They even have the numbers to back it up, apparently, having measured the the vehicles’ MDBF (mean distance between failures).

It was recorded that the BJ80 had an MDBF of 4,682 miles / 7,536 km, considerably better than its rival as it only managed 746 miles / 1,201 km.

The latter, according to this report from The South China Morning Post which quotes a 2004 study, is not a bad result when compared to the US military average, which is just 280 miles / 450 km.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army commissioned the military version of the off-roader, since there was a need for a light and capable scouting and command vehicle - and they were most likely also part of the development process. Delivery of the first batch of military BJ80s reportedly took place in 2016.

China's Military Laughingly Names the BAIC BJ80 as the Most Reliable Off-Road Vehicle
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For civilian duty, the BJ80 is powered by either a 2.8-liter Cummins turbo diesel or a 2.3-liter turbo gasoline burner. It looks capable enough in the videos that pop up online when you do a quick search on it, but to go so far as to say it is the most reliable vehicle in the world and also up to its rival’s standards in other areas, based on one possibly biased study that nobody else verified, the story stretches a bit thin.

Besides, China’s army already uses Mercedes G-Class for various duties, so when the country put all its forces into the creation of an all-new vehicle of the same sort, why did it have to be an exact visual copy of the model they were already using?

Cost is obviously an important factor here, as the BAIC 4x4 is much cheaper than the one from Mercedes, and on the battlefield it may be mistaken for a G-Class from a distance - but what tactical advantage does it have to literally copy another vehicle panel for panel?
China's Military Laughingly Names the BAIC BJ80 as the Most Reliable Off-Road Vehicle
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Not saying the BJ80 is a bad vehicle, but since they put absolutely no effort into coming up with an original design for it, what are the chances that any other part of it is exceptional? Had the test been conducted in the presence of additional observes, it would have been more credible, but as things stand, the BJ80 is probably not the world’s most reliable vehicle.

Source: SCMP

Andrei Nedelea
Andrei Nedelea
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