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Ten Horrible Badge-Engineered Cars

Illustration for article titled Ten Horrible Badge-Engineered Cars

Ford's mercy killing of the entire Mercury brand was merely the latest victim of automotive death by platform prostitution. There's been worse. Much worse. Here's your choices for the ten worst badge-engineered cars ever.


This is "Answers of the Day" - a feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's "Question of the Day" and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!


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Illustration for article titled Ten Horrible Badge-Engineered Cars

10.) Mercury Mountaineer

Suggested By: phor11

Why It's Horrible: The Ford Explorer was never exciting or fun to drive. The Mountaineer continued that trend. It was just another in a long line of cars that slowly sucked the soul out of Mercury, and sent it to its grave last week.

Illustration for article titled Ten Horrible Badge-Engineered Cars

9.) Geo Tracker

Suggested By: Greg Miller

Why It's Horrible: Also known as the Chevrolet Tracker and Suzuki Sidekick, the small SUV would neither track nor assist in fighting crime if it was shiny side down, as Consumer Reports reported it often was in 1988. The truck was ranked as having an "unacceptable" amount of roll when avoiding obstacles. After a lawsuit from GM in 1996, the claims by Consumer Reports were dropped, but the trucks had already been consigned to a lifetime of embarrassment.

Illustration for article titled Ten Horrible Badge-Engineered Cars

8.) Vanden Plas 1500/1700

Suggested By: Shep_Shepherd

Why It's Horrible: Bad British engineering covered in leather and wood inlay and given a weird-looking grill don't make a better car. Originally produced as the Austin Allegro, these cars weren't prone to the same level of rust as many of their British Leyland counterparts, but managed to somehow develop the same reputation for oxidation. Famously, they were noted as being more aerodynamic traveling backwards than forwards. Thank you, British Leyland.


Photo credit: © Andrew, flickr

Illustration for article titled Ten Horrible Badge-Engineered Cars

7.) Oldsmobile Cutlass

Suggested By: b_h

Why It's Horrible: The Cutlass we're talking about here is the sixth generation of the car, built from 1997 to 1999. It's also the one that bears an uncanny resemblance to the Chevy Malibu of the same era. This Cutlass was meant to keep the name alive, at least until the Alero was ready for production. Instead, it was literally the exact same car as the downmarket Malibu. Differentiating features included all-red taillights, unique chromed wheels, and split folding rear seats. Woo hoo.

Illustration for article titled Ten Horrible Badge-Engineered Cars

6.) Oldsmobile Silhouette

Suggested By: wheatieboy

Why It's Horrible: Though the Oldsmobile Silhouette, Pontiac Montana and Chevy venture offered a number of advanced features for their day, such as onboard DVD players (in later models) and 8 passenger seating, reliability and safety concerns dogged the models their entire lives. While we're at it, who in their right mind at GM gave another Oldsmobile minivan the green light for production?

Illustration for article titled Ten Horrible Badge-Engineered Cars

5.) Isuzu i-Series

Suggested By: maximum_sarge

Why It's Horrible: Designed by Isuzu and General Motors, and seen in the United States mostly as the Chevy Colorado, the Isuzu i-Series trucks aren't really that bad as midsize pickups. They do, however, appear to be wearing braces. Isuzu, trucks don't have teeth. There is no reason to put braces on the front end of your truck. It just looks ugly.

Illustration for article titled Ten Horrible Badge-Engineered Cars

4.) Pontiac Vibe

Suggested By: TK421

Why It's Horrible: The Vibe, like it's Japanese sibling Toyota Matrix, is nothing more than an ostensibly sporty-looking wagon that delivers uninspiring performance. The upside is that one of my friends used to own one, and it was a piece of cake to get my entire drum kit in the back. So if you're a drummer in a band and need to get your drums to the gig... Wait. No, don't get a Vibe. Drums fit just as well into my Civic Si, and get to the show a heck of a lot quicker.

Illustration for article titled Ten Horrible Badge-Engineered Cars

3.) Saab 9-7x

Suggested By: vdiddy210

Why It's Horrible: While there is no excusing the existence of the 9-7x, we don't mean to single it out. Pretty much every truck built on GM's GMT360 architecture was unnecessary. That didn't stop The General from using it as the underpinnings for six- count them- six SUVs between 2002 and 2009. They include the GMC Envoy, Chevy Trailblazer, Buick Ranier, Oldsmobile Bravada, and Isuzu Ascender, in addition to the Saab.

Illustration for article titled Ten Horrible Badge-Engineered Cars

2.) Kia Elan

Suggested By: jark

Why It's Horrible: Ok, try to stay with me here. GM bought Lotus in 1988, which gave Lotus the cash to get a new sports car out the door. Enter the M100 Elan, which began production in 1989. 4,655 examples were produced in the span of six years. When Lotus production ended in 1995, Kia purchased the licensing and all the tooling needed, and made their own rebadged version from 1996 to 1999, available only in Korea. While the quality of the car may not have suffered too much under the Kia badge, the idea of a Kia-badged Elan is something I, for one, am not ok with.

Illustration for article titled Ten Horrible Badge-Engineered Cars

1.) Pontiac G3

Suggested By: JonZeke

Why It's Horrible: The G3 was originally a Chevrolet Aveo. The Aveo was originally a Daewoo Kalos. The Kalos was originally an uninspiring little econobox, so why slap a dual-nostril grill and Pontiac logo on the front? "Driving excitement," that's why.

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mkbruin, Atlas VP

I am still amazed that most of the commenters, and even the editors that posted this answer, fail to understand the difference between badge engineering and platform sharing.

Seriously, this is not rocket science. There was a massive product differentiation with the GMT360 architecture. You may not like the 9-7x, but that doesn't mean its 'badge' engineered. It had unique bodywork, interior, and driveline (AWD system). Sure, the frame may be shared, but its otherwise a unique product.

Neon/Neon is straight badge engineering. Cutlass/Malibu is straight badge engineering.

Going through your list:

10) Mountaneer: Close, but was not straight badge engineering. Had you chosen the Navajo you would be correct; however, the Mountaneer (at least the generation pictured) was mechanically very different and had some revised interior appointments.

9) Yep. Badge engineering.

8) I don't know...

7) Yep.

6) Yep.

5) Yep.

4) Wrong. Platform sharing and jointly developed; however, there is diferentiated bodywork and interior apointments.

3) Already covered. not badge engineering.

2) Does this really count? Buying the tooling to a car no longer in production, and selling it only in a market in which the original was never sold? Its not like the Kia and Lotus were both available on US lots in 1993...

1) Guilty.

All in all, there are so many better options.




Acura CSX

GMC/Chevy trucks