04 November 2011

Volkswagen looks Up! to BMC

Badge engineering is best known for being a BMC trait. The Volkswagen group are using that practice with their new and upcoming city cars.

VOLKSWAGEN released the new Up city car at the Frankfurt motor show this year to replace the forgetful Fox. You could say, that it’s more or less a true successor to the Lupo from before, that carries the ethos of being the tiny cheerful, city car. The Up will go on sale in the UK in 2013. The Up will soon be followed with the cheaper, badge engineered SEAT Mii and Skoda Citigo.

The VW group’s crop of city cars is more of a direct rival to the Toyota Aygo, Peugeot 107 and the Citroen C1, which are all essentially the same car wearing different badges. The VW Up, Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo are as well. It will also compete the against the likes of the: Hyundai i10, Kia Picanto and the Fiat Panda.

It's not the first time the Volkswagen group have done badge engineering. Today, they do it with the VW Sharan and SEAT Alhambra MPVs. In the past, there was the SEAT Arosa/VW Lupo and the VW Caddy/Skoda Felica pick up trucks.

1983 Austin-MG Metro advert
Badge engineering is not really something the VW Group are known for, platform sharing they are better known for doing. That is very much the norm in the car industry itself. But VW's badge engineering with seeing the launch of the Up, Mii and Citigo, it's a reminder of what was a common practice used in British cars - especially from the British Motor Corporation.

Badge engineering is very much associated with BMC. The 1100/1300 is a notable example of which were sold and marketed as an Austin, Morris, MG and a Wolseley. Then there was the Farina saloons too. Essentially the same car in all but what badges, grilles and nameplates they wore. It was sold as the: Morris Oxford, Austin Cambridge, MG Magnette, Riley 4 and Wolseley 15/60.

The practice of badge engineering continued to used by BMC's successors: British Leyland, Austin Rover, the Rover Group and most recently, MG Rover. A long running tradition that was used in our homemade cars.

Even though many of the British names are long gone. Badge engineered cars still continues to be made this present day and likely they will be in the future.

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