Badge engineering is a widespread practice in these cash-strapped days of the automotive industry – manufacturers are trying to sell their cars in different markets, under different names and as altogether different propositions. Take the 2013 Buick Encore crossover, for example, which has just aired its first TV ad.
Buick is trying to pitch the Encore as being a new breed of compact and nimble luxury cars, in a world full of oversized dinosaurs (the ad itself looks a lot like an episode from the Flintstones).
The truth is that it's basically the same car as the not-so-premium Opel/Vauxhall Mokka (and Chevy Trax). Sure, the interior quality for Opel/Vauxhall has gone up in recent years, as it has for all other mainstream European manufacturers, which are bordering on premium, but it's not quite there yet.
Nevertheless, with a starting price of $24,950, a slightly flashier interior than its less-exclusive counterpart, a peppy 1.4-liter turbo engine and optional all-wheel drive, decent equipment levels on all trims, the Encore still makes a convincing case for itself.
The Encore should be viewed in a different light. Forget Buick's marketing strategy for it, and instead think of it as a very European-feeling car for the US market, which has an uprated interior and more kit over its siblings - this way, it makes a lot more sense.
By Andrei Nedelea