Nissan Motor is considering legal action against Chinese vehicle maker Great Wall Auto over alleged design piracy, a charge denied by the Chinese company as it prepares for a stock market listing, Reuters reported on Friday.

A spokeswoman told the news agency that Nissan was considering whether to sue smaller truck and sport-utility vehicle specialist Great Wall Automobile Holding Co Ltd for allegedly copying a design on the front of Nissan's Paladin SUV.

The report said 'copy-cat' cars have proven an unpleasant surprise for global car makers racing to boost production capacity in China, where pirating of CDs and software is already ubiquitous.

"We are considering whether or not to sue, but haven't decided anything yet," spokeswoman Keiko Tanaka in Tokyo told Reuters, adding this was Nissan's first problem with alleged design infringement in China.

Great Wall, which is planning to raise up to $HK1.53 billion ($US195.85 million) in a Hong Kong IPO, reportedly it had not heard from Nissan.

"We have always respected intellectual property rights, from logos and product design to technology patents," Great Wall said in a statement cited by Reuters. "The company's products are developed through research, or developed through foreign cooperation. We believe we have not violated intellectual property rules.

"We will investigate the matter further," the statement reportedly added.

Reuters noted that other western car makers such as Toyota Motor, General Motors and Volkswagen, which have invested billions of dollars in Chinese joint ventures, are embroiled in intellectual property disputes to varying extents.

For example, the report said, Toyota, had its lawsuit against China's sole private car maker Geely Group tossed out by a Beijing court earlier this week after Toyota had accused Geely last December of sporting a logo similar to the well-known stylised "T" on its Meiri sedans, saying it could mislead customers -- a charge Geely dismissed.

General Motors is investigating media reports that two models made by SAIC-Chery looked similar to its own models, Reuters added.