Badge engineering is, for some reason, one of the most absurdly satisfying things about the auto business. It’s often shameless and absurd, sure, but some painfully pedantic part of me always likes knowing that, say, a Volkswagen Taro is really a Toyota Hilux. Same car, different names, and somewhere out there is the…
Badge engineering — the process by which one carmaker takes another maker’s car, slaps their own badges and name on it and sells it — has always been a little baffling to me. I suppose retail markups are enough that you can make money doing this? I mean, they must, because they do it plenty. And often, weirdly.
When a car company takes another car and slaps their own emblem on it instead of making their own design, that's badge engineering. It's often shit. But here are ten exceptions to prove the rule.
Badge engineering has been part of the auto industry ever since someone figured out the magical mix of calculus and alchemy that somehow makes money by selling the same car under different names. I've never been entirely sure how this actually works, but it must — because automakers continue to do it.
Do we really need to go into great detail about how wrong the Pontiac-badged '86 Daewoo LeMans really was? Probably not.
What did The General need most of all in the late 1980s? You got it, another marque! All those Suzukis and Toyotas being built in California and Ontario needed friendly Detroit-style badging, not to mention those Japan-built Isuzus.
The saga of end-times AMC took an interesting plot twist when Chrysler decided to rebadge the Eagle Premier (itself loosely based on the Renault 25) as a Dodge Monaco. Hey, didn't the Blues Brothers drive a Monaco?
What came after the Malaise Era? The Turbo Era, of course! In 1986, when your car had a turbocharger under the hood, you wanted the world to know it. This was the philosophy behind the Starion/Conquest.
Whether an engine or a steering wheel, parts-sharing is an easy way for manufacturers to save money. Still, many car owners may be surprised by what parts get shared. Here's 12 unlikely examples.
In the early 1970s, GM created versions of the Chevrolet Nova for practically all of its brands, spelling out N-O-V-A in the variants' names: Nova, Omega (Oldsmobile), Ventura (Pontiac), Apollo (Buick). It was downhill from there, as that strategy (minus the name scheme) turned each of the brands' lineups into…