QOTD: Who Wins the Name Game?

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
qotd who wins the name game

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]

Join the conversation
2 of 58 comments
  • 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

  • Fahrvergnugen NA Miata goes topless as long as roads are dry and heater is running, windscreen in place.
  • 3SpeedAutomatic As a side note, have you looked at a Consumers Report lately? In the past, they would compare 3 or 4 station wagons, or compact SUVs, or sedans per edition. Now, auto reporting is reduced to a report on one single vehicle in the entire edition. I guess CR realized that cars are not as important as they once were.
  • Fred Private equity is only concerned with making money. Not in content. The only way to deal with it, is to choose your sites wisely. Even that doesn't work out. Just look at AM/FM radio for a failing business model that is dominated by a few large corporations.
  • 3SpeedAutomatic Lots of dynamics here:[list][*]people are creatures of habit, they will stick with one or two web sites, one or two magazines, etc; and will only look at something different if recommended by others[/*][*]Generation Y & Z is not "car crazy" like Baby Boomers. We saw a car as freedom and still do. Today, most youth text or face call, and are focused on their cell phone. Some don't even leave the house with virtual learning[/*][*]New car/truck introductions are passé; COVID knocked a hole in car shows; spectacular vehicle introductions are history.[/*][*]I was in the market for a replacement vehicle, but got scared off by the current used and new prices. I'll wait another 12 to 18 months. By that time, the car I was interested in will be obsolete or no longer available. Therefore, no reason to research till the market calms down. [/*][*]the number of auto related web sites has ballooned in the last 10 to 15 years. However, there are a diminishing number of taps on their servers as the Baby Boomers and Gen X fall off the radar scope. [/*][/list]Based on the above, the whole auto publishing industry (magazine, web sites, catalogs, brochures, etc) is taking a hit. The loss of editors and writers is apparent in all of publishing. This is structural, no way around it.
  • Dukeisduke I still think the name Bzzzzzzzzzzt! would have been better.