Man putting BMW emblem on the hood of a car

Do major car brands make cars for other brands?

What is badge engineering?

If you hang out in automotive circles you may have heard the term badge engineering. Even if you don’t have an automotive background, it’s possible that the term has come up. What is badge engineering? We have the answers that you are looking for.

2018 Dodge Grand Caravan fron view with the side view of another in the distanceWhat does badge engineering mean?

Another term for badge engineering is rebadging, and it basically means selling one car made by one brand under a different brand name. Imagine a scenario where a popular brand doesn’t have a particular vehicle class represented in their lineup. They can either build a whole new car to appeal to this segment, or they can get someone else to do it for them.

It happens far more often than you may think, and car companies don’t like to talk about it. One of the most well-known examples from recent memory is the Dodge Grand Caravan which was also marketed as the Chrysler Town and Country.

That may not seem like a big deal as Chrysler and Dodge are part of the same company and have been for quite some time, but this vehicle for a time was also sold by Volkswagen as the Routan and even abroad by Lancia as the Voyager.

Learn More: What is an orphaned car?

Other current examples include the Fiat 124 Spyder which is actually a rebadged Mazda MX-5 Miata and the Toyota Yaris iA which is actually a rebadged Mazda2. This last one is more notable as the Mazda2 isn’t sold in the United States.

2018 Fiat 124 Spyder silver side view
2018 Toyota Yaris iA black side view

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Are there differences between brand engineered models?

Obviously, the emblem and badging are different, but the rest varies case by case. Most often, some of the bodywork changes to better reflect the new brand. However, there can also be additional features, interior changes, and more.

Is badge engineering and rebadging bad for car buyers?

Badge engineering isn’t bad at all. Often, it’s a way for people to get cars they otherwise wouldn’t have access to. However, it is wise to do your research just so that you make sure you are getting a vehicle that you actually want.


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