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.
Here is the list (in alphabetical order) of the top ten worst badge engineering jobs for 2008:
It’s the last-generation Mercedes SLK in disguise. Although the car will not be around in 2009, we didn’t want this problem to go away unnoticed.
Daimler Super Eight
Daimler used to be a very proud brand. It is Britain’s oldest car brand, but it has spent the last forty years making Jaguars with waterfall grilles.
At one time this was the brand was the choice for royalty, but now purchasing one won’t give you much clout. Instead you’ll have to explain to everyone why you paid about £23,000 more than anyone else for a Jaguar XJR.
Nissan already sells the Versa in South America (as the Tilda) with the 1.8-liter engine. Does Dodge really need to slap its badge on the car and call it its own?
Lancia it’s time to put the minivan down. Yes, it looks better than most out there, and yes, the Roman-Catholic church doesn’t believe in birth control. But you have let this minivan soil your image as an eccentric automaker for over 15 years now. Time to let Citroen, Fiat and Peugeot keep this one to themselves.
Pontiac we understand your dealers want a small car, but you’re supposed to be GM’s performance arm. Everyone else can see that a Pontiac bumper can’t hide The Chevrolet Aveo/Daewoo Kalos underneath. Just because the G3 starts at $2,500 more than the Aveo5 doesn’t meant the two aren’t going to be cannibalizing each others sales.
SsangYong pretty much relies on the discarded car lines of other manufacturers for its production, but this one is particularly offensive. It uses the platform from the Mercedes S-Class from three generations ago and a body to look like the S-Class from two generations ago. It’s fortunate SsangYong doesn’t sell to the U.S. If old S-Class technology turns you on, just get an old S-Class; it’s built better.
The Justy doesn’t have too much of a reputation, but some found it useful as a go anywhere econobox. It seems now in Europe a rebadged Daihatsu Sirion is crushing the little social standing it had.
Anyone see a Nissan Frontier around here?
Don’t we want the Russians to be our friends? Why would we send then the tooling for the first generation of the Chrysler Sebring?
Just because Chrysler was still in the Mercedes family at the time the latest Dodge Caravan was developed, does not mean VW can justly call the cars “German Engineered” in its commercials.