Are We In The Golden Age Of Badge Engineering?

Badge engineering is a dirty word in the automotive world as some automakers took the idea a little too far.

General Motors is probably the best example as they cranked out a ridiculous number of badge engineered vehicles over the years. While it’s not unusual for Chevrolet and GMC to have their own version of the same product, the GMT360 platform of the early 2000’s spawned the Buick Rainier, Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy, Oldsmobile Bravada, Isuzu Ascender and Saab 9-7X.

Things have come a long way since then and even badge engineered models from the same company now have more distinctive styling inside and out. While Ford and General Motors are best known for the practice, it’s become truly global phenomenon.

The most recent example debuted in the Motor City as Toyota took the wraps of the 2020 GR Supra.  Essentially a rebadged BMW Z4, the Supra features distinctive styling inside and out.  Despite some Toyota-specific tuning, core components carryover from BMW including the model’s twin-turbo 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that produces 335 hp (250 kW / 340 PS) and 365 lb-ft (494 Nm) of torque.

Of course, the Supra and Z4 are just one of the latest examples as Mazda and Fiat have both been selling their own versions of the MX-5.  Unlike the Supra, the Fiat 124 Spider doesn’t have a Mazda-sourced engine.  Instead, it is powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder that produces 160 hp (119 kW / 162 PS) and 184 lb-ft (249 Nm) of torque.  The MX-5, on the other hand, has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder developing 181 hp (135 kW / 183 PS) and 151 lb-ft (204 Nm) of torque.

Another badge engineered model that has been in the news recently is the Infiniti QX30.  Despite being arguably more attractive and luxurious than the Mercedes GLA, the QX30 was outsold nearly 3:1 last year.  It will eventually be replaced by an all-new model which will be developed in-house.

One of the less stellar badge engineering efforts is the Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86.  Both are fine cars, but the differences between the two are incredibly minor.  They haven’t exactly been stronger sellers either as Toyota sold 4,133 86s in America last year, while Subaru only moved 3,834.

While most of the vehicles we’ve mentioned are coupes and convertibles, they’re not the only vehicles that are badge engineered.  We can even expect more in the future as the alliance between Ford and Volkswagen will see the Blue Oval create new trucks and vans for their German competitor.

  • TheBelltower

    It’s important to understand, or at least note, the difference between “platform sharing” and “badge engineering.” The Supra and the BMW are not badge engineered cars. The Subaru BRZ and the Toyota 86 are.

    • Andrewthecarguy

      I want to agree with you, but I think it is badge engineering with a different engine. If they simply shared a platform, then the amount of BMW inside of that Supra would be undetectable. Instead, it is very obvious there was little effort on the inside. The simply added a Toyota badge to a BMW steering. They did not even bother to change the side view mirrors. If the things we can see are shared, how much more the things we cannot see?

      • Thetruthísntalwayspopular

        WTF are you talking about? The Z4 and Supra have completely different IP designs and interiors. Literally every single thing is different. A 2 second check on Netcarshow is all it takes to not look ignorant.

        • Andrewthecarguy

          Clearly you’ve never owned and probably never driven a BMW. one look in the Supra and a true connoisseur sees BMW. A 2 second head check at the doctors will help you … wait, never mind. You are too far gone, based on your display pic and the sh!t coming out of your mouth.

          • Thetruthísntalwayspopular

            lol. Dude, are you literally B L I N D? The designs are completely different. COMPLETELY. I don’t need to own a BMW, I have a set of fking eyes. If I had an entire collection of BMW’s it wouldn’t make one iota of difference as I’m not living in Birdbox world.

            You’re telling me that these are the same? Is that what you are saying? Point out What exactly is the same, because the entire designs are totally different LMAO.

            The sh1t coming out of my mouth? It’s absolutley pouring out of your eye sockets obviously. You’re an idiot.

          • Andrewthecarguy

            Nope. I’d like to go down the name calling route but you are doing a good job of demonstrating your lack of understanding, so keep it up.
            You being an idiot is as obvious as the point you are trying to make but not connecting. That Supra is a BMW. Period. Dot. It has iDrive for crying out loud. And in the engine bay, BMW parts abound, stickers and all. THAT is the point of the article and what EVERYBODY else sees and is saying. You may have eyes (you picture shows they were burned out by the gases your mouth emits) but you don’t have sense.

          • Thetruthísntalwayspopular

            My lack of understanding? Sweet jesus the irony. Go to Wikipedia, type in rebadging or badge engineering and it will explain what the term means. Can you actually do that? I’m sure even someone of your limited intellect can at least read an article that points out in very clear terms what badge engineering is.

            What you are talking about is not “badge engineering” and ergo, you simply don’t understand the term. And you STILL refuse to explain the differences between the two interiors because you know you’re fkn W R O N G. LMAO

            Also, my picture is of Shane McGowan, a famous Irish singer. the fact you didn’t know that either is yet more evidence of breathtaking ignorance.

          • Andrewthecarguy

            Right, because Shane makes the world go round so if you don’t know him you are ignorant.
            There you go again being a spectacular spectacle.
            You win dude. Go to bed. Please. We’re good.

          • Thetruthísntalwayspopular

            “You win dude”
            The only correct thing you’ve said throughout this thread.
            #caseclosedcasketdropped

        • BlackPegasus

          You need to pull your head out of your ass.

        • ErnieB

          With due respect the only thing toyota did was created a an over designed Japanese kit exterior with left over BMW parts or discarded bmw interior design drafts.. it’s so bmwesqie. There is no Toyota design.

      • TheBelltower

        Agree with you on the interior. It is too close to be considered anything other than 100% BMW. Though “badge engineering” is when cars share the basic stamped metal structure, and only differ in their plastic, paint, luxury options, interior trim, corporate engine selection, tuning, etc. That’s why, depending on how badge engineered cars are, they may or may not have to all be crash tested since a Cadillac Cimarron with leather would perform no differently in a crash than a Cavalier with vinyl seats. If all the metal stampings are unique and the car looks substantially different as a result, more effort went into the differentiation. And then it is generally is called platform sharing.

    • Thetruthísntalwayspopular

      This. But the retards here don’t get it.

  • ErnieB

    Toyota + BMW = ToyBMW..

    • KareKakk

      Bayota…

  • Thetruthísntalwayspopular

    The writer doesn’t understand what Badge engineering is. Sharing the same architecture but with unique exterior, interior and engines is not badge engineering. Badge engineering is the same vehicle with only minor cosmetic changes, ie the GM J cars of the 80’s.

    • BlackPegasus

      The writer knows exactly what he’s talking about. It’s you who want to argue semantics.

      • Thetruthísntalwayspopular

        Clearly he doesn’t. I pointed out explained the differences. It’s not my fault if you think completely different things are “semantics”.

        • BlackPegasus

          The cars featured in this article are clearly badge engineering jobs. That’s the point.

          • Thetruthísntalwayspopular

            Seeing as you have the IQ of a mouldy piece of toast:

            “The term badge engineering is an intentionally ironic misnomer, in that little or no actual engineering takes place.[4][5]

            The term originated with the practice of replacing an automobile’s emblems to create an ostensibly new model sold by a different maker”

            As you can see, using the Supra and the Z4 as a example, they share an architecture but feature bespoke interiors, exteriors and engines. So the cars featured in this article other than the brz and gt 86 are NOT badge engineered. THAT is the point LOL.

          • Andrewthecarguy

            The Supra’s interior was NOT built by Toyota. It was built by BMW. But the badge on the steering wheel says Toyota. That is badge engineering.

          • Thetruthísntalwayspopular

            OMG. You just don’t get it. I can’t believe someone can be this dogmatically stupid.

          • Andrewthecarguy

            I can believe you are dogmatically stupid, we all can. You’ve done a good job of proving it.
            Continue in your ignorance please. It is entertaining if noxious.

          • Thetruthísntalwayspopular

            The irony. Look that up, because I’m sure you don’t know what it means. Btw, still waiting for you to tell me how the interior of the Supra and Z4 are the same?

            Even Stevie Wonder could tell the difference LMAO.

          • Andrewthecarguy

            Aight dude, you get 1 last chance.
            Actually never mind. You are simply not worth any more of my time.

          • Thetruthísntalwayspopular

            Yes keep avoiding answering the Question. All good. I won’t kick a dude when he’s down. Gnight.

          • D4VE THEFIRST

            Talking with him is like a making of conversation with a flat earthers. Doesn’t make sense at all.

          • Tumbi Mtika

            Andrew, this time you are in the wrong here.

          • Andrewthecarguy

            Yeah, you’re right Tumbi! But…it was fun while it lasted 🙂

          • adambravo

            Yes–they “badge engineered” the steering wheel. Brilliant! But all the Supra sheetmetal was done by Toyota for Toyota. It’s far more than just a badge. Unless you’re calling the Bentley Continental GT a badge-engineered Panamera…

          • Mr. EP9

            Nope. The engine is from BMW, the chassis is BMW, and the interior? You guessed it, BMW. It doesn’t have to look exactly like the one in the Z4 but it’s clearly a BMW interior.

          • Tumbi Mtika

            The chassis is HALF BMW. Stop denying Toyota the credit they deserve. A new Z4 wasn’t even planned before this project.

          • getoffme

            This. BMW had no plans on a new Z4, then Toyota came along, rest is history.

          • Tumbi Mtika

            People are spouting off nonsense.

          • Andrewthecarguy

            Tumbi, this GR Supra is probably 85% BMW. I give Toyota engineers credit for tuning a BMW engine and creating sheet metal for the car. That’s worth 15% to me.

          • Andrewthecarguy

            Don’t waste your time on this POS troll. Ignorance is bliss I suppose.

          • Thetruthísntalwayspopular

            How is calling out your stupidity being a “troll”? I’m still waiting for you to point out exactly how the interiors of the Z4 and Supra are the “same”? I’ve just given facts. You’ve just shown that your dumb as a rock tbh.

          • Adam

            Oh right. I know when I look at the Z4 and the Supra I can see they look exactly the same. Even the grille is the same *sarcasm* SMH 🤦🏻‍♂️

          • supermanuel

            Some are but most of the examples cited are not badge engineered.

          • Tumbi Mtika

            Only ONE is. And that is the 86/BRZ.

    • Andrewthecarguy

      Thetruth…my sincerest apologies for using you to draw attention to the Supra. Check (or cheque) is in the mail! 🙂

  • europeon

    I’m joining the ones that are amazed of how many pepople (including the author) don’t know the difference between platform sharing and badge engineering.

    • Tumbi Mtika

      It’s just another bullshit excuse for people to shit on the new Supra.

  • Andrewthecarguy

    Yep! It is amazing what technology can now allow. I was surprised that the QX30 kept so much Mercedes interior bits. The window switches for example. Interestingly, it is a derivative of the ones used by FCA.

    • Matt

      Sharing window switches is the LEAST surprising part. They save money and consumers won’t notice or care.

  • LJ

    Badge engineering: the marketing of one vehicle under multiple brand names.

    The Supra is not a badge engineered Z4.

    • Andrewthecarguy

      Correct. It is a badge engineered BMW, that is what the article is trying to say.

      • LJ

        It’s not though, it’s two different cars that share a platform and engine.

        The Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable are badge engineered.

      • Adam

        The Z4 and the Supra look completely different. They share the same platform and certain parts but they look COMPLETELY different. If it was badge engineered the Z4 and Supra would share all exterior body panels. Fenders are different, bumpers are different, the glasshouse is different… the list goes on.

        • mas921

          100% True

        • Sébastien

          true… until you look inside 🙂

      • D4VE THEFIRST

        Take a look at gt86 and BRZ. THAT’S BADGE ENGINEERING you moron.

        • Andrewthecarguy

          No name calling D4VE.

      • Tumbi Mtika

        No it is not.

  • Tim Manning

    If you guys are tired of these MKV Zupra articles, there’ll be even more coming. Get ready.

    • Patrick Bong

      The Supra is the new Tesla.

      Way too many entirely separate articles generated for more clicks, and way too many triggered overly dramatic negative responses in the accompanying comments sections

      • AMG44

        Agree i dont understand why the Supra is getting so much hate.
        Be happy in this climate, where every manufacturer is busy with SUVs and even sedans are dying, that someone is coming with a Sportscar and a capable one.

  • Matt

    The ‘golden age’ of sharing platforms and drivetrains will be the Electric Era.

  • Eagle By Singer

    To be fair, he might have been talking about the previous generation Z4 and it’s similarity to the new Supra

    Website isn’t allowing me to post the image, but look it up to see for yourself, there is quite a bit of similarity between the two.

    • Matt

      I don’t think anybody is talking about the old Z4…

      • Eagle By Singer

        I know, I’m just pointing out that the new Z4 and the Supra have completely different interiors, where as the old Z4 has a very similar interior to the new supra.

        Almost as though it’s been taken out of the ‘spare parts bin’…

  • vantageman1

    2 cars sharing a platform and drivetrain isn’t badge engineering smh…….2 cars being essentially identical with different badges is…..filler

  • Cobrajet

    It’s happening more between different companies.

  • mas921

    This is misleading. Sharing a platform is not badge engineering.
    Supra to Z4 is like Camaro and Cadillac ATS. Or the G37 and the 370z. These didnt just “swap badges” right?

    For 2 years bmw and Toyota worked together on the platform (REMEMBER: there was NOT supposed to be a new Z4), then for 4 years each built their OWN car.

    I really feel bad for all those GazooRacing engineers who worked hard for 6 years yet to get whipped by primordial kids all over the internet for “doing nothing”.

  • Ary Wisesa

    I don’t see it’s excessively bad. The cost of research and engineering is astronomical, so why automobile industry must reinvent the wheel if they simply can collaborate and share the R&D cost with one another? As long as the final products are excellent with reasonable price for the customers, I welcome this practice. The same car with different badges doesn’t bother me at all, because I’m not a brand snob.

    Badge or brand is not religion, so I don’t see any reason to be too fanatic to some particular brand. Today major brands are more or less in the same level in regards of performance and quality. Some are better than the others in particular discipline. BMW is famous for its performance & handling. Mercedes is famous for prestige and luxury, Audi is famous for savvy tech in understated elegance. Lexus is famous for reliability and service quality. Both Toyota and Honda are famous for high value for money. I’ve driven all those brands and I think they are all good brands.

    All of them have good and bad sides. Nobody is perfect. But if they collaborate and share their expertise with each others and at the end the resultant products are very good, then I wouldn’t mind at all. (Of course we have to be aware of potential oligopoly if they make “union” of themselves).

    • OdysseyTag

      Well said.

  • Marty

    A car can’t both be badge engineered and “feature distinctive styling inside and out”.

  • Marty

    Yes, that’s modern “freedom of choice”. You can’t really choose between different products with different features, you can only choose which sticker it will have so that the “brand” will match your “personality”.

  • Loquacious Borborygmus

    See when you say Golden Age, do you mean like Golden Showers?

  • adambravo

    You’re right–this is very close to the Crossfire/SLK scenario (which was not badge engineering, given the completely different–and not cheap to engineer/tool–sheetmetal). Most of the other examples you cite–with shared fenders, hoods, doors, glass, but different lamps/fascias/grilles–are also badge engineering.

  • DMax

    Supra is built on a BMW CLAR platform that Toyota has nothing to do with, has BMW drivetrain, BMW interior, and we’re yet to see if it has 100% BMW suspension. So yeah it is a BMW Zupra. Still nice car though.

    • getoffme

      BMW engine and ZF transmission. BMW is not ZF.

  • ksegg

    Huh? Like DMax said it has BMW everything in it……even the interior is BMW spec.

    What’re you smoking?

    You can put lipstick on a pig, but guess what, it’s still a pig.

  • ksegg

    This all needs to stop.

  • Blade t

    I think the new z4 looks much classier than the “new supra”..

  • Marc Gruben

    I think the term “badge engineering” is horribly misused. If a vehicle has totally unique bodywork like Supra vs Z4, it’s not “badge engineered”. Rather, it’s a good example of platform sharing. The GMC Yukon / Chevy Tahoe is badge engineering. The Ford Explorer / Lincoln Aviator is platform sharing. Toyota Avalon / Lexus ES350? Platform sharing. Toyota Yaris/Mazda2? badge engineering. Let’s get it right.

  • KareKakk

    Yes… “GT2000” would have been a more “proper” name for it, both in continuing on the GT86 theme and more or less reviving a very classic Toyota sport model, the 2000GT, to whom it has quite an identical profile. And maybe then a “GT2000 3,0” for the inline-6 of 3 liters, to leave the Mitsubishi 3000GT alone. Even GT200 and GT300 could work fine. Then it would be a free-standing model not having to continue the heritage of previous Supra-models and thus save them from much of thebashing on the interwebs.

    • Andrewthecarguy

      I agree. I think the 2000GT is the right name here. The Supra name just has too much recent history to be sullied. If Toyota had Taken the LC500 and lightened it, given it 4/6/8 power, it would tackle the Mustang/Camaro easily, much like it used to in the ’90s.

  • getoffme

    Clearly the writer does not have a clue what badge engineering is.

  • Mynameis Taylor

    and the fiat and miata

    • Tumbi Mtika

      Arguably yes.

  • Platform sharing is the new badge engineering?

  • Paul

    Badge engineering was back in the ’80s when GM was going with all the A body clones and X cars….

  • Kagan

    Not golden age yet, that was in us decades ago. It sure has got a revise though. Last time it didn’t go well, let us see if they learned their lesson.

  • Wandering_Spirit

    There is a political explanation. Since the world is shifting from competitive capitalism and neoliberalism (which is a transitional stage towards something else), oligopoly/plutarchy takes place in lack of state control (liberalism posits that the state should not intrude into the markets and that markets are perfectly able to self-regulate). This causes brand consolidations and overconsolidations. Overconconsolidations aim at maximizing efficiency. Maximizing efficiency and and profit implies standardizing processes, designs and devising synergies to share common components. This reflects in the monotone design of many cars (Audi, Skoda VW come to mind), in the way designers themselvers are trained (streamlining and global designing, loss of “national pride” over a more progressive “global outlook”, see Alfa Romeo and BMW) and in time is also shapes consumer’s choices. If your kid grows up in that world, as an adult consumer he won’t have other parameters to pick from. He’ll only know those models. Models with boxy shapes, tensed lines, often no curves (there are reasons for that too) and increasing similarities among all models.

    It’s a boring world made to strike a compromise between industrial and profit efficiency in a world of fewer brands under very few hands and the need to mildly appeal to an audience that increasingly lacks fantasy and imagination. A vicious cycle. In sum, there is lack of diversity. Lack of diversity and real choice cause a lot of problems. Beyond cars.

    • Benjamin B.

      you’re overthinking everything… these vehicles are expensive to produce now… therefor automakers share the costs

      • Wandering_Spirit

        Is a BMW a VW, Audi more affordable? Or rather cheaper to make but more expensive to buy? Not even Skodas or Seats are that cheap anymore. The tendency is A) Streamline manufacturing/cutting costs and B) Maximize profits. They get cheaper, to the nanufacturer. Not to the end consumer.

    • Benjamin B.

      which allows vehicles to be more affordable

    • Smith

      You just wrote this so people would be impressed with your extensive and overly prolific use of really big words. Not impressed, just relax a little and have another coffee.

      • Wandering_Spirit

        I wrote an opinion. You seem to have no opinions on the matter but at the same time you seem to have a problem with people you do not know or with concepts you do not understand. You can do two things, among those with more common sense. 1) Ignore the posts/people you don’t like. or 2) Add something meaningful to build a constructive discussion. To date, you did none of those.

  • Nagog Dijouru

    X-Class. You forgot the X-Class.

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