Developing a vehicle from scratch is an expensive and time-consuming undertaking. There are times when it’s just not practical for a carmaker to build an all-new model just to fill in the gaps in its lineup. This is when a lot of manufacturers turn to rebadging, which basically means getting vehicles from another carmaker, removing said carmakers’ badges, and putting in their own.
GM is notorious for rebadging many of its vehicles and selling them under its numerous brands. Of course, the company isn’t the only one guilty of doing it. For this list, though, rebadged vehicles under the same corporate parent weren’t included, so no, don’t expect to see the Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon/Cadillac Escalade and its ilk here.
Having said all of that, here are five notable (slightly weird?) rebadged vehicles:
- Volkswagen Routan
Around 2007, Volkswagen wanted to increase its sales in the US, and it wanted to achieve that by offering more vehicles specifically for the American market. The company didn’t have a minivan but was not willing to spend on developing one of its own. It rebadged what was probably the best vehicle in the category, the Chrysler Town & Country. It was on sale to consumers from 2008 to 2012, and in 2013 was limited to fleet purchasers only. It has since been discountinued and dropped from VW’s lineup.
- Suzuki Equator
In a last ditch effort to keep the Suzuki marque alive in the US, the company decided to sell a pick-up. Suzuki didn’t have one in its lineup, so it turned to Nissan for help. As you probably can tell, the Equator is just a Nissan Titan with a different front end. It didn’t last long in the market, and as it went away, so did Suzuki in the US.
- Honda Passport
Back in 1993, Honda desperately needed an SUV to meet the increasing demand for the said vehicles in both Japan and the US. It entered into an arrangement with Isuzu, which at the time was exclusively producing SUVs after having gone through a restructuring. Honda would get to rebadge Isuzu SUVs and in exchange, Isuzu would get to rebadge Honda passenger cars and vans. The Passport, a rebadged Isuzu Rodeo, was Honda’s ticket into the SUV arena.
- Isuzu Oasis
The Oasis was a rebadged Honda Odyssey and was part of the agreement between Isuzu and Honda back in the early 1990’s. Though it had a lower sticker price and an arguably better warranty, the Oasis never sold as well as the Odyssey, as Isuzu was not as big a brand as Honda was in the US. It only lasted for one generation.
- Acura SLX
The SLX is yet another one of the vehicles involved in the Honda-Isuzu deal back in the 90’s. It’s basically the same as the Trooper, except it’s a little more upscale. The SLX didn’t really sell very well, and was replaced in 2001 by the MDX, which was based on the Honda Pilot.
And there you go. Those are just a few of the many notable rebadged vehicles. Can you think of some other interesting rebadge jobs? Tell us about them in the comments!