Badge engineering is when one company slaps their logo on someone else’s car without changing much else. We’re pretty sure it happens when auto executives go strolling around the auto shows and then say, “Hey, that looks good, can I get one too?” A phrase that works fine when a car exec spots an ice cream cone, but doesn’t work well for car manufacturing.
Sometimes this has worked out fine for auto manufactures (like the Porsche Cayenne /VW Touareg /Audi Q7 ), and other times are a little half-baked (GM still apologizes for the Cadillac Cimarron.) This list celebrates the latter.
We give leniency for to many of companies who sell the same car under different names to different markets (Daewoo, we’re looking at you.) This list is more about the thinly rebadged for another company, the same company using cars that directly compete, and cars that didn’t need to be repeated. The rules for this one are simple, the car had to be for sale somewhere in the world in 2008 and be another company’s bastard lovechild.
Merry Christmas. Here are ten cars that you won’t be under the tree this year; it’s the top ten cars not sold in the U.S.
The rules for this one are simple, the car cannot be available for sale in the United States. We do know our readers are international, so its okay for those outside the U.S. to rub it in if you can buy one in your home country. Even better, in the spirit of the giving season, you can make us feel better by sharing cars that you wish were available in your home country.
We’re hopeful that maybe if we’re really, really good, Santa will drop some of the following cars in our driveway next year.
Last week was the top ten cars for 2008, but we still want to dream, so these are the top ten concept cars from 2008. The rules for this are much simpler: the car had to be in an auto show or officially recognized by a car manufacturer in 2008.
That leaves a pretty big field still out there so we narrowed it down further by eliminating cars that are have already been altered to their final production form (like the European Ford Focus RS ), or cars that were a concept at the beginning of 2008 and are already for sale. As always, write-ins are encouraged (we may even change the list with enough protest.)
We are getting to the year end so we will be presenting plenty of lists of our top ten favorites. To start it off, TopSpeed’s Top Ten New Cars.
Here are the rules:
The car must be new or significantly improved this year These are manufacture’s car not tuner cars All cars must be available for sale in the U.S. (cars not sold in the U.S. will be its own list) We do not have to pick from this list as our car of the year Write-ins are encouraged (we may even change the list with enough protest)
Green Car Journal editors have chosen 5 cars from the 2009 new car line-up. The rules for eligibility are simple. "Vehicles using all types of technologies, fuels, and powerplants are eligible for the Green Car of the Year program. To qualify for consideration as a nominee, a vehicle must exhibit characteristics that substantially raise the bar in environmental performance and be in production by January 1 of the award year."
Already labeled “Best Concept” by AutoWeek Magazine upon its world debut at the Geneva auto show last March, the Saab 9-X BioHybrid has been voted “Specialty Concept Car of the Year” by a jury of 25 professional North American automotive journalists. The award ceremony took place at the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Michigan.
Now in its 7th rendition, the annual Concept Car of the Year Awards recognize those vehicles that are most likely to shape the future of the automobile industry. The winners were selected from 40 concept cars and 12 production preview vehicles that made their North American debut during the 2008 auto show season.
The 9-X BioHybrid is a vivid vision of what a future compact car from Saab could look like. It is designed to reflect the priorities of youthful customers who seek progressive looks, responsible performance and high-tech communications, all in a sporty, fun-to-drive package.
Take that GM. Toyota is one of the global leaders in the field of Automobiles. Their commitment to make fuel-efficient and clean engines has fetched them an award at the prestigious International Engine of the Year Awards this year.
But don’t assume it’s because of the Prius and veer away from the rest of this article. Toyota ’s Polish-made, 1-litre three-cylinder 67bhp gasoline unit as found in the Toyota’s own Aygo, Yaris, Echo and Vitz and in the Citroën’s C1, Peugeot’s 107 and Subaru’s Justy came out successful but not without some tough competition.
In the sub-one litre category things couldn’t have been any better. The final contestants were Mitsubishi’s 84bhp 999cc three-cylinder turbo and Daimler’s 45bhp 799cc diesel unit, which is recognized as the world’s smallest direct injection diesel engine. Interestingly both those engines at present serve the Smart Fortwo city car.
But that didn’t bother our winner. The main reasons behind its success was its feather like weight, tipping the scales at 67 kg, it is no wonder this is the world’s lightest internal combustion engine.
The technology that goes into making such a light package isn’t rocket science. The use of a light weight material like aluminium to construct it helps achieve this feat. Aiding the cause futher is its extra-small cylinder bore-to-bore distance (wall thickness between bores is just 7mm), and the use of a light weight resin throttle body and fuel delivery pipe. The air intake system and engine cover is an integral piece, a design first for Toyota, a weight-saving initiative.
The panel was also impressed with its Variable Valve Timing system (VVT-i) technology, which holds responsibility for the smooth acceleration, a crucial factor that won this award for Toyota.
This engine is literally a fuel-sipper. 4L/100km on a combined cycle is as good as its gets, giving it another entry in the record books as one of the most fuel efficient engines in today’s cars. A figure of 109g/km of CO2 emissions speaks for itself and strengthens the point that this victory is a well deserved one.
The redesigned 2009 Acura TSX , a midsize luxury car, wins the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s TOP SAFETY PICK award. Winners afford superior overall crash protection among the vehicles in their classes. To qualify, a vehicle must earn the highest rating of good in the Institute’s front, side, and rear tests and be equipped with electronic stability control. The new TSX improved in the side test from acceptable to good and in the rear test from poor to good, compared with the previous model.
"Criteria to win are tough because TOP SAFETY PICK is intended to drive continued improvements such as top crash test ratings and rapid addition of electronic stability control, which is standard equipment on the TSX," says Institute president Adrian Lund. "Recognizing vehicles at the head of the class for safety helps consumers distinguish the best overall choices without having to sort through multiple test results."