posted 5 years ago

Badge Snobs Beware: Same Car, Different Name

Car Makers Cut Costs By Reusing Design

Badge snobs beware: did you know that motor manufacturers often design one car then sell it with a range of badges?

Their objectives are to minimise design and production costs, and create a portfolio of vehicles that appeal to a wide market from one, cost effective, concept.

The Volkswagen Group

The Volkswagen Group incorporates brands such as Skoda and SEAT - and produces city cars such as the Volkswagen up!, SEAT Mii and Skoda Citigo. Such models are built in the same factory and share mechanical components such as the 1.0-litre 60PS, and 75PS, petrol engines. These city class vehicles are distinguished by their brand specific styling – as seen in our image gallery – trim levels, price and image. Image is a particularly important factor for many buyers. Some, for example, crave the prestige associated with the Volkswagen badge. These might happily purchase a Volkswagen up! but would never consider a Skoda. That, in comparison, is perceived as a non-pretentious budget brand which helps it appeal to those with different priorities. In contrast, buyers that like SEAT's sporty image can choose the Seat Mii. So, the VW Group attracts a wide range of customers with what is – in real terms - one design concept. Simply selling as (say) a VW could limit its appeal and reduce Group profitability.

Volkswagen Group And Ford

While today’s manufacturers are increasingly looking for economies of scale, the practice of putting different badges on the “same” car is nothing new. The Ford Galaxy, Volkswagen Sharan and SEAT Alhambra from the 1990s shared components too. These are large, multi-purpoise vehicles, with up to 7 seats. The Ford Galaxy uses Volkswagen engines such as the 2.8-litre VR6 petrol and the 1.9-litre TDI. The Galaxy interior – in its earliest form - also incorporates Volkswagen Group parts. Notable features include the Golf-derived instrument pack and most of the switchgear. The curved fascia moulding, in contrast, is inspired by the Ford Mondeo of the period. Ford has now distanced itself from the Volkswagen Group and its latest Galaxy is more closely related to the Ford Mondeo. However, the Sharan and Alhambra continue their association.

Peugeot, Citroen And Toyota

The Peugeot 107, Citroen C1 and Toyota Aygo are also closely related. The Presidents of Toyota and PSA Peugeot Citroën - Fujio Cho and Jean-Martin Folz, respectively - decided in July 2001 to jointly create a new generation city car. The project was called B-Zero.

Production of all three vehicles began in 2005 at a factory in Kolin (Czech Republic).

Is it good for consumers?

Highly successful, the partnership highlighted the way that manufacturers targeting different demographic markets are increasingly able to meet the needs of target consumers. Whether that drives prices up or down for consumers is a moot point.

Sharing component design and production should mean that prices fall. But with different brands now often working together to offer what are effectively the same vehicles, there is arguably less reason to offer competitive pricing than ever before. 


With regards to Joe Smiths Comment, Badge ''swopping'' has been on the go for a very long time, but interestingly enough, Power plant sharing is also very much the fore nowadays. Think of this, Buying a New Peugeot, Citroen or Mazda in Preference to a Ford because you think the reliabilty isn't there, then think again. They are all powered by Ford. Most people Know that Jaguars have Ford engines as is with Volvo. There are so many other Models using some one else's Power units; so at the end of the Day, we just have to ask our selves,''what is going to be my deciding factors when Purchasing new'', is it going to be my favourite brand, The Car make, or the Power unit?.

Apart from the old BMC/Austin Rover brands maybe the author should also do some research on the least Renault Twingo v the newest Smartcar. Peugeot and Citroën often share platforms and running gear. Jaguar and Fords at one time shared the same platform. There area load more examples to be found on the interweb. This has been going on so long in the industry why worry???

Thanks for opening my eyes to this blatent fraud. I suspect Rolls Royce and Bentley may have been guilty of something similar in the 70s and 80s. Perhaps it is more common than I realised.

Did you get paid for writing that? Homework for tonight: the history of the Austin, Morris, MG and Wolseley marques.

In most things the saying "You get what you pay for" for is true, but not always in the motor industry, My VW main agency was always good for the customer at service time, a nice area to wait unlimited coffee, and very polite, a week later I always got a telephone survey on how well the garage had performed, but nobody ever asked about the car, which never performed well after its first service using lots of fuel and never lifting above 28 mpg winter or summer, and when I complained they always said that the car was set to manufacturer specifications. Now, reading on motoring forums Vauxhall do not seem to come out well in the garage stakes, but my local Vauxhall garage is the tops because they can diagnose problems as in the days of old, and they cure them, so I don't think the quality of the brand is a guide to the quality of the service

Unfortunately if you buy a Skoda against the equivalent VW model, the customer service from Skoda just isn't there any more so you may be better off buying the VW derivative in the first place.

Unfortunately, as noted by an earlier comment, the better badge does not mean better service. The worst customer service I ever came across was by Mercedes, to such a degree that I would never buy a MB again. I have had much better service and reliability with Renault & Peugeot.

It's not just the car you need to consider. With the better badge comes better customer service. I stopped buying Mazdas because the local dealer provided rubbish service and was understaffed by rude idiots as a joint Ford (Yuk) dealership. My local VW dealer is spot on. Well staffed, free coffee , nice places to sit and wait with TV and newspapers. My local Audi dealer ditto. But then you get what you pay for!

Back in 1996 ordered an Alhambra the week before Top Gear pointed out it was the same but better equipped than the Sharan or Galaxy. Demand went through the roof and I had to wait 6 months for it!

Honda Accord and Rover Sterling. (Rover???? Rover what???)

Good on you Tony I am a Skoda snob too.

I have been a badge snob for over 30 years, would never drive a car if it did not have a SKODA badge on it

On my 3rd skoda octavia. Purchased a vrs estate tdi dsg demonstrater!! A lot less than a similarly equipped passat or a4. Lovely car. If people are happy to pay £5k plus for a poorer equipped car because of the badge they are obviously idiots!!

The accountants at VW Groups HQ must rub their hands with glee every time someone buys an Audi A1 instead of a Skoda Fabia!

Fiat 500, Fiat Panda and Mk2 Ford Ka