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Top Ten Cars, Whose Renaming Didn’t Work

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Top Ten Cars, Whose Renaming Didn’t Work

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There is no doubt that the car badges have a lot of value, and it is a fact that others judge you by the badge your car has on its bonnet and like any other business, auto manufacturers will do anything to get something out of this perception but sometimes that doesn’t work out well. Let’s have a look at some of the examples where a car has been renamed to boost the sales but the strategy totally failed.

Aston Martin Cygnet

The Cygnet is a Toyota IQ based car which has been just pulled off the shelves by Austin Martin. The British Car maker thought that taking a £11,000 IQ and giving it Austin’s name and front grille and a price tag of £32,000 will be a winning formula to target the rich Austin fans. However, rich people aren’t rich because they have been making such stupid buys. It took two years for Austin Martin to realize their mistake (only 150 units were sold, whereas the yearly sales target was 4,000).

Cadillac XLR

People at Cadillac had been thinking for a long time that there should be a top notch sports car in the line-up and they ended up choosing the outgoing Chevrolet Corvette. Using the same platform, Cadillac added its own suspension, power folding hard top and named it XLR. However, the drive wasn’t the same as other rivals like Mercedes SL plus the power output was also 110bhp less. The price was also much higher, a similar spec SL would cost about £13,000 less.

Vanden Plas 1500

Volkswagen introduced Golf and the British auto industry replied with Allegro in early 70’s, the Vande Plas 1500 was launched under the Austin’s badge. It wasn’t much different from the Allegro apart from the Bentley like front grille and the walnut interior.

Alfa Romeo Arna

In the 80’s, Japanese cars were known for their reliability and Italian for their styling and that formula proved successful for many models. However Nissan and Alf Romeo joined hands and decided to do the opposite and produced Arna (Alfa Romeo Nissan Autoveicoli), a rival to the Golf. It was in fact a Nissan Cherry with Alfasud engine under the bonnet which was assembled at the Italian manufacturer’s factory. It was a car that outlined the worst features of both the manufacturers. The Arna was abandoned in 1986 when Fiat took over Alfa Romeo.

Lotus Carlton

Vauxhall Carlton was considered a cool car in 1990’s and Lotus added a twin turbo engine to the saloon that could produce 377 bhp and do a top speed of 170mph. The Carlton was the first four door saloon ever to hit these figures. The price of the Lotus Carlton was almost double the regular one.
It received lots of good reviews by the critics, however, it was also became a first choice for criminals as it could easily outrun the Vauxhall Astras and Ford Escorts given to the police. It is a shame that the production had to be stopped when it was hit y 90’s recession.

Lancia Thema

The 300c is without a doubt Chrysler’s best model. It looks good with a Chrysler badge as it’s a great modern version of the Yank from 50’s. Having said that, it isn’t probably the best branding practice to just add the Lancia badge to the 300c and naming it Thema.

Volkswagen Caddy

Volkswagen has transformed many models of the Czech car manufacturer Skoda. Some of us might remember the first Skoda with a VW badge. It was the Felicia which was based on the Skoda Favorit . In the late 90’s the German car manufacturer launched the Caddy pick-up which was in fact Felicia Fun with VW badge.

Alfa Romeo Dauphine

In the mid 60’s when Alfa Romeo was trying to struggle after the war, the Italian car maker decided to launch the Renault’s Dauphine under its badge. The rear engine car was assembled at Alfa’ factory in Milan and named Dauphine Alfa Romeo. However, the car was too boring to handle sports car maker’s badge.

 

Porsche 924

Porsche was approached by the Volkswagen chiefs to develop a sports car for the German car maker that should be based on an existing VW or Audi, this collaboration resulted in rear wheel driven Project 425. After the oil crisis, when VW was struggling, Porsche bought the design back and the Project 425 was re-launched as Porsche 924. Although it had good looks, good handling and a great fuel economy for the time, it was rejected by the Porsche fans.

Maserati MC 12

Maserati has produced some great sports cars but the MC12 isn’t one of them. It was built around the Ferrari Enzo’s chassis but is much slower. In Jeremey Clarkson’s words ‘’a de-tuned Enzo in a fat suit’’. Although it did good as a GT racer, however it wasn’t much appreciated as a road car.

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Elliot Whipp is working and contributing to Ideal Engines and Gearboxes.

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