Would You Ever Rebadge A Captive Import?

CountersteerYour true stories of good and bad things that happen in cars.

There are some cars sold here in the U.S. market as domestic brands which have been built elsewhere. No brand’s sales lot is more indicative of such a strategy than Buick. The majority of the company’s lineup is built by Opel and imported with a tri-shield badge, including the Encore, Cascada, and Regal.

Full disclosure, my wife and I spent yesterday at the Buick dealer and drove away with a new Opel Insignia Sport Tourer 2.0 SIDI Turbo S/S AWD. Here in America, that’s known as a Buick Regal TourX. More on that to come in future blogs.


Don’t get me wrong, I think the Regal TourX is a handsome car. It’s the last American nameplated wagon left on the market, and ours is Rioja Red, which is a spectacular color. It’s not high on my list of priorities, to be sure, but I can’t help but think it might look just a little bit better with an Opel bolt badge.

So here is the question I pose to you, dear reader; Is rebadging a car a cool or tool thing to do? By putting Opel badges on a Buick, or say Holden badges on a Chevy SS, or Aston Martin Cygnet bumpers on your Scion iQ, or Mercedes badges on your Freightliner Sprinter, are you giving a nod to other car folk that you’re one of the cognoscenti, or simply pointing yourself out to be a bit of a knob. Are there certain circumstances in which it works, and others which it does not?


I grapple with both sides of the argument. For the record, I am absolutely the kind of person who would build a Cygnet clone.

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About the author

Bradley Brownell

Jalopnik contributor with a love for everything sketchy and eclectic.