Badge engineering, in which one company slaps its emblems on another company's product and sells it, has a long history in the automotive industry. When Sears wanted to sell cars, a deal was made with Kaiser-Frazer and the Sears Allstate was born. Iranians wanted new cars in the 1960s, and the Rootes Group was happy to offer Hillman Hunters for sale as Iran Khodro Paykans.

Sometimes, though, certain badge-engineered vehicles made sense only in the 26th hour of negotiations between companies. The Suzuki Equator, say, which was a puzzling rebadge job of the Nissan Frontier. How did that happen?



My personal favorite what-the-heck-were-they-thinking example of badge engineering is the 1971-1973 Plymouth Cricket. Chrysler Europe, through its ownership of the Rootes Group, was able to ship over Hillman Avanger subcompacts for sale in the US market. This would have made sense... if Chrysler hadn't already been selling rebadged Mitsubishi Colt Galants (as Dodge Colts) and Simca 1100s as (Simca 1204s) in its American showrooms. Few bought the Cricket, despite its cheery ad campaign.

So, what's the badge-engineered car you find most confounding?

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