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74 CARS
So you think you are driving a sporty new executive Jaguar X Type?
Sorry to disappoint you, but you are actually driving an old style rep’s
Mondeo with a body job and a price tag £3,000 higher. If yours is four-
wheel-drive you can thank Jaguar engineers for persuading their Ford
bosses that they didn’t want to launch a front wheel drive Jaguar. At
least if you are driving a Mazda 6 it is based on the latest Mondeo.
Perhaps you are driving an upmarket Saab 9-3 diesel? Nope, it’s a
Vauxhall Vectra with a Fiat engine. Fancy a luxury American Cadillac
BLS? Don’t bother, it’s yet another Vectra, but not so well built. How
about that sleek S40 that Volvo claims competes with the BMW 3 Series
Cadillac? Actually, it’s a Vectra . . .
and Audi A4; oh shucks, it’s nothing more than a Ford Focus in drag.
Audi is on a roll at the moment making prestigious, high quality cars
and I am sure drivers of the svelte A3 feel quite smug; apologies for
taking a leak on your bonfire – it’s nothing more than a Skoda Octavia
without the big boot. It could also be a Volkswagen Golf, a first series
Audi TT, a new Beetle or the best value of the lot, a SEAT Leon, Altea or
Toledo. Yes, they are all the same underneath.
If you like the look of the W12 Bentley Continental but just can’t afford it,
don’t despair because, for a saving of about £90,000 you can buy a
low-mileage, one year old, mechanically identical Volkswagen
Phaeton, which if anything is probably even better put together at the
…so is this…
purpose-built Dresden showcase, which is also used as an overflow
plant for Bentley when Crewe can’t cope.
COULDWELL ON
A Rose by any other name.....
CARS
If you enjoy the sizzle of fancy car branding as much
as you like the steak under the bonnet, then what you
are about to read will probably not apply. But as
Robert Couldwell explains, it is amazing what a deal
can be had if you couldn't care less.
At the other end of the scale you might like the look of the compact
Vauxhall Aguila – it’s a great little car and it’s built by Japanese Suzuki in
a Hungarian factory. Suzuki also builds the SX4 which is also the Fiat
Sedici. The Peugeot 4007 and Citroën C Crosser SUVs are actually the
Mitsubishi Outlander. Top end SUVs Volkswagen Touareg, Audi Q7 and
Porsche Cayenne are all made in the same VW factory in Bratislava,
Slovakia but if you buy a large Volkswagen SUV in the US it will be built
by private-equity owned Chrysler.
The VW Sharan, SEAT Alhambra and the last Ford Galaxy MPVs were
basically the same and all built in Portugal. The Peugeot 807, the
Citroën C8 and the Fiat Ulysse were all but identical, but in the UK the
…and of course, so is this
Fiat was a version too far and has been quietly axed.
The Mitsubishi Grandis has a Volkswagen engine, the BMW Mini a
Peugeot one. The next Ford Ka will be a Fiat as will the next Mini, since
BMW’s recent collaboration deal.
Badge engineering isn’t new and it was probably American motor
manufacturers who invented it but the British in particular took the idea
on board with relish in the 1950's. The consolidation in the British motor
industry during the thirties left just Rootes Group, Austin, Morris, Rover,
Jaguar, Standard and Triumph after the war. The fifties and sixties
brought further mergers, leaving just British Leyland, Rootes Group and
the American-owned Ford and Vauxhall, and some smaller specialist
Jaguar? Um – actually it’s a Mondeo…an old one…
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