QOTD: Who Wins the Name Game?

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Writing up a post about GM’s activities in Uzbekistan got us thinking about badge-engineered cars. Not just those produced by The General, although there are plenty of examples of those, but all of the just-different-enough models around the world.

What models immediately spring to your mind when someone starts talking about badge-engineering?

The lead image above gives away my answer. The front-drive A-body cars, new for 1982, were offered in just about all manner of GM’s flavors, from Chevy to Pontiac to Buick to Olds. Some lived longer than others, with the Celebrity being usurped by the Lumina in 1990, but with the Century soldiering on until 1996. An argument can be made that enough unique DNA was injected into each of the four to make them different enough, as the all-wheel-drive 6000 STE shown above is miles away from a bench-seat Cutlass Ciera.

Another bizarre chapter in GM’s badge-engineering was the Canadian experiment of the Asüna brand. The oddly-umlatted cars were a response to Pontiac-Buick-GMC dealers who cried foul foul because the Chev-Olds-Cadillac did big business with the import-fighting Geo brand. GM marketed three cars under this brand, one of which didn’t even have a name, just a trim — SE/GT. Oy.

The original Chevy Tracker must’ve been one of the most badge-engineered vehicles in the world, as its names included: Chevrolet Tracker, GMC Tracker, Geo Tracker, Asüna Sunrunner, Pontiac Sunrunner, and Suzuki Sidekick. And that’s not counting its variants in foreign markets. Unlike the A-body cars we mentioned, there was hardly a hair of difference between all these variants.

What models pop into your mind when the conversation turns to badge-engineered cars?

[Image: General Motors]

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • KalapanaBlack7G KalapanaBlack7G on Aug 21, 2018

    Chevrolet Lacetti Buick Excelle Chevrolet Optra Chevrolet Estate Chevrolet Nubira Daewoo Nubira Daewoo Gentra Holden Viva Ravon Gentra Suzuki Reno Suzuki Forenza

  • Ermel Ermel on Aug 22, 2018

    Since in Germany, both GM and Ford don't offer but one "make" of cars, my standard bage-engineering examples are different. Keeping aside such beginners in the badge-engineering game as the Peugeot 108/Citroen C1/Toyota Aygo, VW Taro/Toyota Hilux, or Fiat Ducato/Peugeot Boxer/Citroen Jumper, the one that apparently tops everything is a lorry, namely the "club of four" small/midsize cabover that initially (1974) was sold as a Saviem, Magirus Deutz, Volvo, and DAF, but whose cab and often also frame and engine have been re-used by more than twenty lorrymakers all over the world. You North Americans may remember it as the Mack Mid-Liner, 1980-2001.

  • Zoomzoomfan Zoomzoomfan on Aug 22, 2018

    The J-body. There's the Chevrolet Cavalier, the Pontiac J2000/2000/Sunbird/Sunfire, the Cadillac Cimmaron (sigh), the Oldsmobile Firenza, and the Buick Skyhawk. My personal favorite is the Sunbird, since I own one (a '90 LE coupe with 56k miles).

  • Casual.gearheads Casual.gearheads on Aug 22, 2018

    As a kid I used to wonder why the heck does my neighbor's Opel Corsa not have any 'Opel' or 'Corsa' emblems on it. Turns out it was a Chevrolet Chevy and how it managed to find its way into what was Yugoslavia, I have no idea. I imagine it might have something to do with the neighbor being a fairly well off lad and having access to more foreign good than most of us. There seems to be no mention of these cars in Europe anywhere online and I've seen a few of them about, back in the day. Of course, being Opels, they've all rusted into oblivion by now. Here's how it looked: http://i.imgur.com/fSOZVm6.jpg