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Old 14th May 2019, 17:38   #1
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Default Badge Engineering or Bodge Engineering - A Primer

The upcoming Toyota / Suzuki Badge engineering exercise and the first resultant product, the Glanza is about to be launched. It is very difficult to ignore the fact that one of the top 5 selling cars in India, the Suzuki Baleno is about to be transformed into a Toyota.



Transformed?

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The mere slapping of badges on a visible sales success like the Baleno, cuts no ice.

Perhaps, below looks like a more effective effort by Toyota

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Source

This lame effort got me thinking about the concept and purpose of Badge Engineering. I decided to do a little bit of research and use my limited knowledge and arrive at an objective way to assess what would objectively make a badge engineered effort effective. I am no supreme commander so I welcome a debate, opposing views and a good wrestle over this topic! Lets begin with some history, define some parameters and apply these to some examples.

What is Badge Engineering

The process of rebadging /rebranding a vehicle as another brand. It can involve mere swapping of badges to a substantial reengineering of key parts. Manufacturers have been undertaking this for years. On the surface, it is the most laziest trick in the book.


Why do this?
  • When an organisation has too many brands and too few models and sometimes clueless on what to do (GM, SAIC)
  • A manufacturer has too much production capacity (The Renault rebel alliance!)
  • Miserly budgets (Renault in India!)
  • Cry for help to fill a gap in the market (Skoda, Toyota)

What defines Badge Engineering?


A successful badge engineering effort should fulfill at least three of the following
  1. Clear distinct looks
  2. Needs more than a screwdriver and a spanner to rebrand
  3. Each brand has a distinctive variant - whether engine or its tune, suspension or trim (but note previous point)
  4. Both brands do not get negatively impacted
  5. The licencee brings something unique to the table
  6. Exclusivity to a market with a promising sales volume. i.e Vauxhall are badged engineered Opels to be sold in the UK. Opels are not sold there.

These form the basis of my Badge or Bodge Matrix

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Last edited by Vid6639 : 22nd May 2019 at 11:27.
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Old 14th May 2019, 17:39   #2
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Default Badge Engineering - A Bit of History!

Badge Engineering - A Bit of History!

GM are the biggest Badge Engineers. I do not possess much historical knowledge about GM to discuss this in depth. GM successfully used the concept to configure a car to different tastes. Some examples (sorry if I hit a few raw patriotic nerves!)

Bland volume – Buy a Chevy,
Sporting Blandness – Buy a Pontiac,
Budget Luxury – Buy a Buick
Flash as a rat with a gold tooth – Buy a Cadillac

However, large sales volumes for each brand meant that each brand could generated economies of scale within to push beyond the limits of a screwdriver. They could engineer and design major features which were unique to the individual brand. Shrinking volumes saw a lot of standardization and cost cutting measures creep in. These differences got watered down substantially and resulted in the death of some brands like Pontiac and Oldsmobile!

Let's look at some historical British examples in depth (Am using these as I know these well).

The BMC Group


Back in the late 1950's. BMC had accumulated many brands, Austin, Morris, Riley, MG and Wolseley - later on the government would nationalise BMC and add Triumph, Rover, Jaguar into the pot!

The A60 Farina Series

The successor to the Ambassador. Many did come into India from East Africa and Malaysia through Transfer of Residence returnees!

Introduced as the Austin Cambridge

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Along came the Morris Oxford. Apart from trim, lights and grill, the only other distinguishing feature was that the Austin had a wooden dash.

Badge Engineering or Bodge Engineering - A Primer-1024pxmorris_oxford_1964_1.jpg. Source

I still am at a loss to understand how this element of badge engineering succeeded for quite some time. These did not pass my 6 parameters. All that mattered was who was the friendly dealer near you. These two brands also exclusively came as station wagons as well as a diesel variant (very slow but were popular as taxis in the colonies. BMC then added more brand variations of the saloons

Along came the Riley 4/72

Badge Engineering or Bodge Engineering - A Primer-riley-472-frontw.jpg Source

This was a lot more different due to unique fenders, front end and rear lights. This was differentiations in one respect - It came with a Rev Counter (wow-wee!) and twin carbs (an extra 10 BHP - yay!)


Then comes the MG version - the MG Magnette. Twin carbs, no rev counter but it had antiroll bars. Source

Badge Engineering or Bodge Engineering - A Primer-1280pxmg_magnette_mk_iv_ca_1966.jpg

If that was not enough, we had the Wolseley 16/60. This was unique with leather and walnut door cappings, a little lamp in the grille but only a single carb.

Badge Engineering or Bodge Engineering - A Primer-1280pxwolseley_1660_front.jpg
Source

Badge Engineering happened at a time when "phoren" was an alien word in the empire. German and Japanese cars were made by the "enemy" so were never considered. The British had reservations about the French. Hence Badge Engineering and branding became more incestuous than the Game of Thrones! By early 1970's VW, Fiat, Renault and Peugeot were making inroads so badging efforts needed to look elsewhere.

As competitors made in-roads, BMC started cutting the numbers of badges, MG was relegated to small nippy cars, Riley was killed, and only the Austin/Morris and Wolseley badges were continued. However, BMC were not the only "Badgers" in the game but they did a fairly effective job in their corner of the empire! There was also the Rootes Group which got later acquired by Chrysler. It was under capitalised and Chrysler ended up with some pretty insipid cars. Rotes owned Hillman, Humber, Singer, and Sunbeam. Sunbeam was reserved for the sports cars. So we had the Hillman, Humber, and Singer brands and virtually only one platform!

Rootes dabbled in badge engineering since the 1950's but the last effort based on the Arrow range was a very damp effort

The Hillman Hunter
Badge Engineering or Bodge Engineering - A Primer-1280pxhillman_hunter_with_second_of_the_four_fronts_1725cc_first_registered_october_1967.jpg

Basic, bland, simple - one actually won the London to Sydney Rally twice!


Slap a chrome grill, a little wood and fit an alternator and you get the

Singer Vogue

Badge Engineering or Bodge Engineering - A Primer-1280pxsunbeam_vogue_license_plate_ca_1969.jpg


For that taste of luxury and a little power (from 1500 to 1750CC) - Add a dollop more wood and a vinyl roof to get the

Humber Sceptre

Badge Engineering or Bodge Engineering - A Primer-1024px1975.humber.sceptre.arp.jpg

This was screwdriver heaven.

Rotes and Chrysler never recovered from the bland badge engineering debacle and after a series of takeovers, the factory assembled Peugeots for a while before being closed.

One rule to remember about Badge Engineering:
  • Like marriage - Badge Engineering always has one dominant partner - ask your wife!
  • Unlike marriage - Badge Engineering sometimes had little meaning!

Some more examples of Badge Engineering

Jaguar and Daimler

Jaguar XJ12 - I used to salivate on seeing this car in my school. Owned by a classmate whose dad was a pig farmer, either they picked him up in a filthy Austin van or in this! Thats called bringing in the bacon!

Badge Engineering or Bodge Engineering - A Primer-jaguarxjcompleteguide.jpg

Another classmate whose dad was a vet had one of these. The Daimler Double Six! (My dad was a dentist with a VW, obviously, sticking one's hands down the wrong end of the wrong species showed where the money was!)

The chrome never did it for me! Beyond the chrome, I could never understand why one would choose one over the other apart from the fact that the Queen drove one personally.

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Daimler only survived due to the limousines and the Royal Family. Trying to portray sporting saloons as leather sofas never cut it. Now it's only KPS who is keeping a Daimler alive!!!

Rolls Royce/ Bentley (Pre German ownership) - Photosource - Respective Wikipedia Pages


Rolls Royce Silver Spur

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Bentley Mulsanne
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If I apply my Badge or Bodge matrix to assess whether this was successful. It would be a total Bodge. Rolls Royce outsold Bentley by 10:1. Bentleys were priced at around 2-3% cheaper than a Rolls as an incentive to sell.

Applying the "hallowed" matrix

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The 3/6 rule was not even achieved. It was a total zero! The sales figures showed this up. Nice badge but nowhere to go! However, thing changed suddenly. Some folks within Bentley rebelled beyond the badge and blew it big time, with the Turbo

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A turbo and tight suspension turned this old dowager into a buxom cougar! As you can see the Badged Bodge got bodged successfully to warrant its Badge. It was stuff like that that made MG's out of Austins in the old days.

Look at how the parameters changed by some substantial tweaking

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This move actually saved VW when BMW ran away with the rights to the Rolls Royce name. There was enough brand value in Bentley to revitalise it.

Sidenote - One Rolls Royce Silver Spur did get the turbo treatment. That was for the Sultan of Brunei - considering he accounted for 10% of all Bentley production at the time, one could not politely decline!

Last edited by ajmat : 23rd May 2019 at 12:07.
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Old 14th May 2019, 17:40   #3
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Default Indian Badge Engineering Successes

So lets looks at specific examples related with India

Renault Duster / Nissan Terrano
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This has been the best implementation of badge engineering in my opinion. The Terrano looks quite different. Some panels were unique and the interiors were much improved upon and differentiated. Renault kept the automatic and AWD variants for themselves as well as later on, making the cars look more tough!

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VW Vento / Skoda Rapid

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This was another good effort. VW know how to badge engineer quite effectively. While the midriff of the Vento remained the same, the front end of the Fabia was grafted on along with a unique boot lid pressing. The newer Rapids do share the same bonnet and wings now (in order to reduce costs) but VW have effectively maintained the difference by retaining the 1.2 TSI variants for the Ventos only.

Skoda does however provide a unique after sales experience! wink wink

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Skoda Superb 1/ VW Passat Lingyu

Badge Engineering or Bodge Engineering - A Primer-skoda_superb_blau.jpg

Badge Engineering or Bodge Engineering - A Primer-1280pxshanghai_volkswagen_passat_lingyu_front_quarter.jpg

A global VW Badge Engineering masterstroke! The Czechs wanted an official ministerial car. VW gave them the Passat Lingyu. Based on the B5 Passat. This model was relegated for the China market and there would never be any clash. Skoda were allowed to tweak the grill and rear lights, add a couple of umbrella's and Vaclav and his men could stretch out with pride. Skoda, being the king of the Taxi Rank, then pulled another masterstroke and added cheaper , low spec diesel variants which were much loved for taxi work.

The Superb helped cement a premium brand for Skoda which VW has never matched in India in terms of volumes

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Last edited by navin : 22nd May 2019 at 13:57. Reason: minor typo
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Old 14th May 2019, 17:41   #4
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Default Some Examples of Bodge Engineering

Now for a few dogs

City Rover Source

Badge Engineering or Bodge Engineering - A Primer-2004_rover_cityrover.jpg

An Indica is a cheap car for the masses, no amount of nicer trim and a badge can make it an upmarket car. Rover procured them at 3000 pounds a piece and retained them for 6000+ pounds. Sheer greed and zero business sense.

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Chevrolet Forester source

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A lovely car hidden amongst Korean tripe. No amount of Chevy badges could suppress the Subaru DNA that was oozing out by the gallon. All buyers were not fools and most procured original Subaru badges and slapped them back on!

A real branding Bodge!

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Nissan Sunny / Renault Scala (also applies to Micra/Pulse)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rehaan View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by noopster View Post

At a Renault / Nissan round table (Renault Nissan Alliance Discovery Tour) in 2013, Sumeet Sahwney then the marketing VP, blabbered on how the Scala and the Pulse will provide the ultimate Renault experience to the Indian consumer, I stood up and dared him to send these cars to Europe and sell them in volumes. Then his boss intervenes - "tail between his legs" and states that design budgets were limited.

Switch the bumpers and tail lights and you get Nissans. Interiors are exactly the same. The fact that these cars never sold in the numbers anticipated, says it all!


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Last edited by ajmat : 23rd May 2019 at 12:07.
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Old 19th May 2019, 18:46   #5
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Default re: Badge Engineering or Bodge Engineering - A Primer

Future Badge Engineering Ventures

Baijun 550 Vs MG Hector
Source

Badge Engineering or Bodge Engineering - A Primer-1280pxbaojun_530_02_china_20180320.jpg

Source (MG India's first SUV named Hector)

Badge Engineering or Bodge Engineering - A Primer-1image.jpeg

Elsewhere, a lot has been said about the Hector. Yes, underneath all that, it is a Baijun or Chevrolet depending in which geography that you are located. I am not going to discuss the total misalignment of the MG badge with its original heritage. However, I really admire how SAIC have engineered the car to give a distinct identity. The diesel engine and the interconnectivity features make it stand out from the Baijun/Chevy counterparts. The interiors seem to be very different.

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As a Badge Engineering effort, it is quite impressive!



Conclusion

Concluding, this matrix hopefully helps in assessing the effectiveness of a Badge Engineering exercise. As you can see, from a logistical/ financial point of view, it all looks easy. However, one needs to really be cognisant about the brands and remember, cars are an emotional purchase. They are not white goods!

Returning to the Toyota Glanza exercise, this is the biggest most shameful bodge of them all! Toyota could have done a lot more with its infinite resources and cash. The Glanza could have been fitted with different bumpers, a new grille, different audio options, trim surfaces and other more distinguishing factors. A set of new wheels and badges don't cut it.

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With that "dicky" name, we've got the bell end of the stick with this one!

Last edited by ajmat : 22nd May 2019 at 10:12.
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Old 21st May 2019, 20:05   #6
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Default Re: Badge Engineering or Bodge Engineering - A Primer

Note from Moderator

Moved from Assembly Line to The Indian Car Scene
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Old 21st May 2019, 20:27   #7
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Default Re: Badge Engineering or Bodge Engineering - A Primer

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajmat View Post
We've got the bell end of the stick with this one!
Nice thread, Ajmat!

The Baleno - Glanza exercise is so lame, it's not even funny. Not that the earlier badge engineering exercises were any good (as you have pointed out), but this is a whole new level of low from Toyota.

I can only think of one reason why the Toyota management would have gone ahead with this - meeting the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency) norms with very minimal investments.

Toyota primarily sells big cars like the Innova and Fortuner, with the least engine capacity being 2.4L - the others in their stable are just doing namesake sales. Adding a small, lightweight, mileage champion like the Suzuki Baleno into their stable can help them a lot in improving their corporate average FE figures.

I know of a neighbour who bought a Brezza and had the Jeep Compass lookalike grille plastered on the day of delivery itself. Toyota should keep this grille and badges stocked in their accessories section - they might be able to sell more of those to Baleno owners, than Glanza cars to customers.

MG Hector, IMHO - is liveable as we neither get the Baojun, nor the Wuling or Chevrolet variants of the same car in India. So it can have its own identity in the Indian market.

You can also include Mahindra - Ssanyong in your comparisons, especially their approach towards the Rexton (Alturas G4) v/s their approach for the Tivoli (XUV 3OO). Hyundai - Kia as well, though their Indian effort is too early to tell, are the masters of badge engineering across the globe, doing a better job than even VW & Skoda IMHO in terms of differentiating their products off the same platform.

Last edited by CrAzY dRiVeR : 21st May 2019 at 20:52.
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Old 21st May 2019, 20:51   #8
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Default Re: Badge Engineering or Bodge Engineering - A Primer

Completely agree with you on Duster/ Terrano, Vento/ Rapid differentiation and the lack of time as well as effort invested by Toyota in Glanza oops Baleno.

You have mentioned Polo instead of Vento with Rapid(typo?). Polo should be compared with Fabia IMO.
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Old 21st May 2019, 20:59   #9
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Default Re: Badge Engineering or Bodge Engineering - A Primer

When some Oldsmobile owners found Chevy engines in their vehicles, they took GM to court and won.
Cookie cutter is the derisive term used for these cars.

Waiting to see if we will now get Maruti Innovas and Fortunes!

Is the Baleno made in Maruti's Gujarat plant?

Regards
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Old 21st May 2019, 21:49   #10
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Default Re: Badge Engineering or Bodge Engineering - A Primer

As long as there are consumers, this is the age where companies shall try to be as blatant as possible. Is it ethical for Toyota to try to pass off a 100% Maruti Suzuki product as their own (bad nomenclature notwithstanding), absolutely, since basically all the Japanese car makers have married each other and this point has been raised before by myself and many other members.

Badge or bodge, as long as there is a "MoU" or "partnership" or "tech-sharing" agreement so to speak between two companies, there is absolutely nothing wrong in what they are doing, or trying to get away with, to put it more frankly. I'm least bothered by this and the upcoming Suzuki Corolla, or future renditions of Maruti Innova, Toyota Alt-o, Toyota Ciaz or whatever the heck they plan on doing.

What I will have a problem with, and this is surely going to be a problem in the least consumerism-aware democracy on earth, is that people are going to absolutely believe that both the products are worlds apart despite the complete similarities so obviously visible. At the end of the day you buy the car and not the brand (yes some people choose the brand due to ease of maintenance and resale etc).. but in this case if I hear or read even one person saying that he/she avoided the Baleno for the badge and bought the Glanza simply because it is a Toyota or avoided the Corolla and bought the Suzuki re-mix of it for easier ownership.. I'd really be stunned at what these two companies got away with.

Japan simply isnt what it was in the 90's up until the early 00's.. they are getting far too much love from everyone and thus such partnerships and badge-engineering (literally badge engineering, make one and paste it on) will get more blatant and more illogical as time goes by.
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Old 21st May 2019, 22:00   #11
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Default Re: Badge Engineering or Bodge Engineering - A Primer

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post

You can also include Mahindra - Ssanyong in your comparisons, especially their approach towards the Rexton (Alturas G4) v/s their approach for the Tivoli (XUV 3OO). Hyundai - Kia as well, though their Indian effort is too early to tell, are the masters of badge engineering across the globe, doing a better job than even VW & Skoda IMHO in terms of differentiating their products off the same platform.
Thanks
I actually did one for the Alturas but got hampered by the limited number of attachments and the need to keep it as a compact primer, not a detailed manual. The XUV300 is virtually a new car using Tivoli underpinnings, I think only the doors are common. Ditto, Hyundai-Kia, the mechanicals are similar with different setups but the panels, everything is different


Quote:
Originally Posted by itsmb View Post
Completely agree with you on Duster/ Terrano, Vento/ Rapid differentiation and the lack of time as well as effort invested by Toyota in Glanza oops Baleno.

You have mentioned Polo instead of Vento with Rapid(typo?). Polo should be compared with Fabia IMO.
Thanks for pointing out, have corrected it. Toyota never invested any effort. Never mind the time!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post

Is the Baleno made in Maruti's Gujarat plant?
It is, therefore quite possible that Suzuki did the deal under Maruti's noses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dark.knight View Post
As long as there are consumers, this is the age where companies shall try to be as blatant as possible. Is it ethical for Toyota to try to pass off a 100% Maruti Suzuki product as their own (.
It is not unethical but trying to transpose brand values is pushing it. Frankly, cars are becoming commodities like white goods.
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Old 22nd May 2019, 07:58   #12
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Default Re: Badge Engineering or Bodge Engineering - A Primer

Superb thread! Going straight to the homepage . Thanks for sharing!

Just wanted to share my thoughts on how Toyota has actually taken a beating because of the Glanza mess:
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
If you ask me for my frank opinion, the Glanza has damaged Toyota's reputation. Enthusiasts & industry players alike are laughing at them for the lame badge-swapping job. I'm talking about a serious amount of ridicule going on in the circles and for once, I agree with all the jokes.

Second, any customer expecting the "Toyota experience" from this new hatchback will be disappointed. Don't get me wrong, I like the Baleno, but it doesn't stand for any of the great things that built Toyota. Yes, I know neither did the Liva & Etios, but at least the Liva / Etios got a fantastic 1.5L petrol which made them fun to drive (flat handling too), scored surprisingly well in the NCAP crash tests & didn't have an identical competitor in another brand's showroom.

This is one of the many stupid moves made by Toyota India. The company has a track record of silly decisions.

Of course, we shouldn't miss the big picture. Toyota is only flirting with Suzuki, which it eventually wants to marry & take home . The Glanza is the equivalent of all the stupid things we have done done to impress our girlfriends in college.

Last edited by Vid6639 : 22nd May 2019 at 09:26. Reason: as per rp
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Old 22nd May 2019, 09:13   #13
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Default Re: Badge Engineering or Bodge Engineering - A Primer

Ajmat, thank you for all the effort to put together this thread. Like you I was/am familiar with the British cars of that generation and always wondered about the familial looks. Thanks to your thread I learnt a couple of new things today especially about Jaguar & Daimler. On Glanza and Baleno I think Toyota India has lost its way. Maybe they plan to buy out Maruti Suzuki or Suzuki Japan itself. I'll put my membership of the Dilli Toyota Fan Club at risk by stating they are nuts about this Glanza business.

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Old 22nd May 2019, 09:36   #14
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Default Re: Badge Engineering or Bodge Engineering - A Primer

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajmat View Post
These form the basis of my Badge or Bodge Matrix

Attachment 1877966
Nice thread. I think it would be nice to have price in the matrix.

In case of Toyota Glanza. they have set an internal monthly target of ~2000 units and let us see the market response to this from July onward.
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Old 22nd May 2019, 11:12   #15
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Default Re: Badge Engineering or Bodge Engineering - A Primer

Interesting thread! I think the same can be said about the Toyota/Nexus and Honda/Acura relationship.
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