After The джудже The исполин Will Be Among Us

A few days ago, I wondered which marque offered the most badge engineered cars in its range. So, shall we make an effort to investigate this?

2018 Fiat Talento: source

Naturally, I will have to go back to Fiat first. What do you think the result will be? Well, Fiat didn’t really do as bad as I thought. They have eleven models, some of which I have not seen before. The Spider (I’ve seen that) is a kind of badge-engineered car as it shares components with the Mazda MX-5. It is saved by the fact it has its own carrosserie.

GM and then PSA share the Doblo. Obviously badge-engineered cars bought by Fiat are the Talento (a Renault Trafic), and the Fullback (Mitsubishi L200). The Qubo is a joint-venture car with PSA (Bipper and Nemo). Gone from the range are the Freemont and the Sedici (a long time ago now, I note) Four and half out of eleven.

2017 Fiat Grand Punto: car magazine

Opel have a rather large range (go and see for yourself here) which I filleted down to about thirteen basic models. You can still get an OPC and a Cascada, by the way.

Tough character: The side-view of the new Opel Combo Life features protective flank guards and prominent wheelarches.

The Vivaro van is based on the Renault Trafic. It will cease production and be based on a PSA product in future. The Movano is based on the Renault Master. That’s two cars. Two out of thirteen.

Peugeot have about ten cars.  Obvious badge-engineered vehicles are the iOn (shared with Mitsibishi and Citroen), the 108 (shared with Toyota and Citroen), the Rifter is shared with Citroen and Opel, the Traveller is shared with Citroen and Toyota (can anyone name them without asking Mrs Google?). That’s 4 of 10 cars or forty percent.

Naturally, we will find Citroen in a corresponding position: they have 11 models. There’s the electric C-Zero (shared with Mitsubishi and Peugeot), the Mehari (more or less a a Bolloré Bluesummer), the Berlingo is a Rifter, the Spacetourer is shared with Peugeot and Toyota. The Jumpy is a commercial version of the Spacetourer.

It doesn’t really count as a separate line. Citroen’s range of cars is really low rent, I find. There’s no saloon, no halo model, just a lot of hatchbacks and the odd Mehari joint venture. It’s interesting there is no Citroen version of the 508. Badge-engineer rating: 4 out of 11. Or it might be 4 of 10, depending on what you call a separate line. Forty percent, then.

2016 Renault Espace

Renault have 14 models and unlike Citroen have the mighty and mightily groovy Espace to add some backbone to the range. As with all the others, most of the badge-sharing is done at the commercial end of the spectrum. I was really hoping to find a loser brand with re-labelled passenger cars but nobody has really flunked this test.

The Alaskan is a badge-swapped Nissan Navarra; the Master, Trafic and Kangoo are shared with others. And to some extent the Twingo is a half a badge-engineered car. Did you know there is a Twingo GT. That’s 4 and half out of 15. To their credit, nobody shares the Twizy or Zoe. Thirty percent, shall we say?


A special medal goes to Ford.  They haven’t got any models bought in from anyone else. Isn’t that a turn up for the note books? They have about fifteen models and if you look at the commercial/van side it is pretty diverse. The lone Mondeo saloon is the showroom stands out as the last old-school grown-up car.

Finally, let’s go to Mitsubishi. Seven models, none bought in. Not bad.

2015 Opel Cascada

So, the badge-engineering prize so far goes to PSA as a whole. They share models among the brands and also have a few brought in from outside. I expect Opel will gain some new PSA commercials in the near future, upping their b.e. quotient to near PSA levels very soon, especially as older Opel specialties like the Cascada and OPC die off.

Readers are invited to search out and find other badge-engineering sinners. I feel that if the body work is not the same (sheet metal) we can call it a separate car. Different bumpers do not add up to a different car.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

11 thoughts on “After The джудже The исполин Will Be Among Us”

    1. In a way yes and and a way a stout and resounding upper case no. Yes, I am wrong because that is clearly a beautiful badge engineering car. And stoutly right in upper case letters because tacit in my analysis is the fact I was utterly and totally Eurocentric. If I had taken a global view I would need about a week to look through the data. I am sure in some regions e.g. S America and Australia badge engineering is almost the norm.

    2. It has been reported that in a bid to slash costs, the Blue Oval, should they decide to remain in the European market at all, is likely to increase the level and frequency of its joint-ventures with other carmakers. Given the state of play within the wider industry, and the degree to which the generalist carmakers (in particular) are exposed, one imagines JV’s will become more the norm than the exception.

      As an aside, I received my first sighting in the wild of the 2019 Focus this afternoon. It didn’t actually dawn upon me until it had passed, such was its singular lack of presence. The over-riding impression was of a car I had seen many times previously. Interestingly, Autocar reported upon an extended test of a similar Focus and observed that nobody paid it the slightest attention during the duration of the test. It’s clearly a car that leaves no visual impression, which may or may not have been the design intention.

      The Golf can rest easy, one imagines.

    3. Ford´s resistance to JV´s is commendable. It makes for more product diversity. I think people should not underestimate the value of branding. Gullible as I may be but a Transit strikes me as the bench-mark white van with the Connect not far behind it. I see them as seriously engineered products in the way others, even MB´s vans aren´t.
      I wonder have I already seen a new Focus without realising it. What is the longest time between launch and seeing a new car or noticing a new car? New Fords normally spring onto the street within minutes of their announcement. It could be some time before we see this Focus in any numbers. The new Fiesta is barely noticeable. I am vaguely aware some of the Fiestas in my area are the new ones. How many are new I can´t say.

    4. Eóin, I too saw a new Focus, last Thursday going down the M1 near Milton Keynes. As it loomed in my mirrors I thought I was a Fiesta ST (I’ve been looking out for them), but as it pulled alongside I realised what it was. To be fair, it looked better than I had expected, and has nice and deep side windows. It also looks longer than I had envisaged, with a long wheelbase. Nevertheless, one can only describe the looks as ‘derivative’ and it looks like the love child of a new FIAT Tipo and a Mazda3, with an enlarged Fiesta nose-cone. Not what I would have thought to be the hallmarks of a landmark seller, but who am I to say without Ford’s market insight?

  1. In my view, the 124 Spider is not a badge engineered car. It looks different, has more space in the back and it has a different engine.

    Similar story for the Twingo. It just feels different enough from the smart.

    It is amazing that you forget the entire product range of VAG, including Lamborghini Hurrican (Audi R8), Urus and Bentley Continental GT (Porsche Panamera), Bentayga.

    Usually, companies develop cars together so that the end product is more affordable. The new MX5 would not have been possible without shared FCA investment. And without Twingo, no new smart.

    But when VAG does it, the cars become more expensive for the customer? To make matters worse… Bentley is losing money (inexplicably). A Cimarron moment for them?

    1. Indeed, I accept it´s not a badge engineered car. You are right to point out VAG but then again I said I wasn´t able to do more than a short survey. Off the top of my head the main badge engineered example is the Up and its sisters. The rest of them tend to have brand-specific sheet metal even if they are in other respects much the same.

  2. Apologies, but I still cannot see where it stated in either upper or lowercase that this is a post about European badge engineering only or that it would be the greatest sin in mankind to dare mention a Chinese Ford. Be that as it may, I think the Sharan and Alhambra are very much badge engineered VAG cars as they share most of the same sheet metal with very minimal changes. The rest of their cars thankfully only do platform sharing and not badge engineering.

    1. There´s no need to apologise. I should have spelled out more clearly that I was only dipping my toes in the water rather than seeking to present a comprehensive overview of the global market.

      Indeed the Alhambra and Sharan seem like good examples of badge engineering. In the Olden Days there was also the Ford version of the car. Ford have joint-ventured on the Ka. There haven´t been so very many if one doesn´t call the Volvo and Jaguar cars joint ventures (they weren´t, that was in-group platform sharing).

  3. Toyota must be up there with the most prolific, no? On top of their worldwide badge-engineering (Toyota Pro ace, defunct Scions, U.S Lexuses, …) I believe there is quite a lot of badge-whoring going on domestically, in Japan, with their Daihatsu (and Lexus) brands.

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