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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
My passion is also my business, as I am with the Toronto based Hav-A-Kar Auto Group. I sell or lease any make of car, van or truck available in Canada. My interest in all things "car" has helped me with my many clients in Ontario over the past 20+ years. Please give me the opportunity to assist you.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Aug 12: Say, you look familiar

Once upon a time the car manufacturers would sell the same car under different names, like the Ford Crown Vic and the Mercury Grand Marquis. Rare today, but it still happens, for example take the pick-ups from Chevrolet and GMC. Exactly the same truck, but with some minor design differences to aid(?) the consumer in their decision. These days things are different and one doesn't see this "badge engineering" as often. These days what we see is completely different companies sharing the same vehicle, but with some brand ID changes, again to aid the consumer in their choice.

Take these two.........

 The red Mercedes GLA came out last year, an entry level suv (or suv type car), which is being followed this month by Infiniti's QX30. Both share the same platform, but with some individual changes for brand awareness. Also, being a Benz, the GLA is slightly more costly. Never used to see this happen in the past, where different companies shared what is basically the same vehicle under a different brand name. Fascinating.

Another example from Toyota and Subaru is their sharing of this little sports model.......

Very nearly identical cars, with minor changes that are extremely minor. Your car guy can't tell the difference, until he sees the Subaru stars or the Toyota whatever symbol.

Or how about the brand new Fiat 124.......

......which is essentially a Mazda MX-5........

.......but with some clever, and in my opinion better design changes, to help people see the original 124, which left us years ago. Obviously, the reason behind these alliances is cost. Fiat could bring out their brand new Japanese sports car for a fraction of what it would have cost to make an Italian one. Will folks buy into this? Probably, since the basis for their new ride is the very competent and generally loved Mazda Miata (oops, MX-5). Smart move, just find a car you like and make a call to the other company......"Hey, Asumi, guess what I was thinking?".

Does this new Chevy City Express small van remind you of anything else you might have seen recently?
 Possibly this Nissan NV200?

Unless you are completely blind, you'll realize that they are exactly the same vehicle. Chevy needed a small van, after being caught flat footed by Ford's new European arrivals, so a quick call to Nissan, a minor grille change and voila', the new Chevy City Express. Whew! Dodged another bullet and saved the day, until Chevy can develop their own small van or bring one from Europe.

Doesn't Opel sell a neat little city van in Europe? Sure they do and their Combo is the perfect small van, that would compete nicely with the Nissan and the Fords.......

. But wait a minute, doesn't this one look remarkably like this Fiat Doblo below?
Which it should, since they are the same vehicle. So, then bringing it to North America might be tough, since the Fiat Doblo is already being sold over here as a Ram van...........
.......which makes sense since Fiat owns Chrysler. But then again, since different manufacturers are selling the same vehicle in the same market, it probably wouldn't make any difference, as we've seen with these other vehicles.

Are you following all of this? I do my best, but heaven knows, I'm not a miracle worker.

What we've seen here is just the beginning of various alliances that the manufacturers will have to enter into as new vehicle development costs increase. To remain competitive, these joint ventures will be key. So you like the Nissan truck, but prefer the Chevy name on it, the choice is yours. Like the Benz, but not sure about its style, then drop into an Infiniti dealer. Haven't things become so much easier? As I said, this is just the beginning, folks.

Until next time...........

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