10 American Cars Named Differently Overseas
These car names might be different but that’s about it
Updated October 10, 2017
In modern conditions, large automakers can’t afford to be strangers to badge engineering. Rebadged cars appear more and more often as automakers divert their resources on lowering production costs by establishing alliances, sharing platforms and even outright buying out their competition. American automakers are no strangers to this practice as well. They’ve rebadged a number of foreign nameplates over the years and were likely the best jobs they’ve ever done in that respect. This time, however, we’ll be focusing on reversed state of affairs. Here are the 10 current American models marketed overseas under different badges, car names or even both.
Dodge Journey (Fiat Freemont)
Mid-size crossover was introduced for 2009 model year and started initially as North American market exclusive vehicle. As of 2011, however, things changed. Mexican-made SUV received new badge and car name, and started its overseas journey as Fiat Freemont. Fiat Freemont can now be bought in Australia, China, South Korea, Brazil and most of Europe. Unlike American models which are offered in conventional two-way 4-cylinder and V6 options, global models can also be ordered with fuel-efficient 2.0L turbo diesel engine. Other than one additional engine and reworked frontal fascia, Dodge Journey and Fiat Freemont are basically the same thing.
Chevrolet Volt (Opel Ampera, Vauxhall Ampera, Holden Volt)
Depending on part of the world you’re stationed in, you can get Chevy Volt either under different name or different badge and name altogether. Holden Volt has been launched in Australia and New Zealand, in 2012 – two years after the original Chevy’s debut. Europeans have gotten it in November 2011, in original package, but German GM division Opel (soon to become a part of Peugeot-Citroen alliance) immediately took over. Opel Ampera was available as soon as February 2012. On the other hand, since all Opels in Britain are badged as Vauxhalls, UK Ampera/Volt is neither Chevy nor Opel. Right-hand drive Vauxhall Ampera was launched in May 2012. Differences between the mentioned models are purely cosmetic, however, as all feature the same powertrain and range. As of 2016 model year and second generation launch, all non-Chevy versions have been axed due to slow sales.
Buick Encore (Opel Mokka, Vauxhall Mokka)
Buick’s first ever compact crossover was actually first introduced as Opel Mokka in Europe, in late 2012. Buick version came a few months later, in early 2013. Differences between the models, however, are almost non existent. There’s nothing to separate them apart from different badges and frontal fascia. And engines, of course. While Buick Encore in America and China both come with 1.4L turbo four making 138 horsepower, European Opel and Vauxhall counterparts do things slightly differently. Redesigned Mokka X (both Opel and Vauxhall) can either be ordered with mentioned 1.4L turbo four or optional 1.6L diesel and petrol mills.
Ford Escape (Ford Kuga)
One of the best sold American compact crossovers doesn’t stop there. Ford Escape has its market across the pond too, where it goes under the name Ford Kuga since 2012. Kuga existed before that, mind you, but it was based on the C1 platform jointly developed by Ford, Mazda, and Volvo. Furthermore, third generation Ford Escape and second generation Ford Kuga feature the same visual treatment. They’re only powered by different engines. While American version offers a choice between 1.6L and 2.0L EcoBoost 4-cylinders, and 2.5L naturally aspirated in-line four, overseas models add 1.5L EcoBoost and four tunes of 2.0L Duratorq diesel mill. They don’t get the naturally aspirated 2.5L engine, though.
Buick Regal (Opel Insignia, Vauxhall Insignia)
Buick Regal has a long tradition and deserves to be part of tri-shield automaker’s portfolio. Regal’s main market isn’t USA any more. It’s China. But that’s not the only other market in which Regal appears. It’s also available in the UK as Vauxhall Insignia, and in rest of Europe as Opel Insignia. Furthermore, as of next year and introduction of the second generation Insignia, New Zealand and Australia will get it as Holden Commodore (NG). As it’s usually the case, both Regal and Insignia are very similar in their styling. Engine choices make the most of their differences. Buick Regal can be had with 2.0L turbo four and 2.4L normally aspirated four in the US, and additional 1.6L turbo four exclusive to the Chinese market. Euro spec Insignia, on the other hand, adds two tunes of 1.6L turbo diesel 4-cylinder while discarding the naturally aspirated 2.4L mill.
Chevrolet Spark (Opel Karl, Vauxhall Viva)
Spark originally started as Daewoo Matiz, but Chevy quickly changed its car name after absorbing the Korean automaker. Current, fourth generation of this super mini city hatchback answers to the name Karl in Europe and Viva in the UK. Styling differences across the three are somewhat more substantial than it’s usually the case. While Karl and Viva are more or less the same car, Spark boasts different front and rear end, different headlights, and different midsection creases. Finally, while Spark gets 1.4L 4-cylinder engine capable of producing 98 horsepower, more pragmatic Europeans get off with 1.0L 3-cylinder delivering 74 horsepower and 66 mpg.
Ford Fusion (Ford Mondeo)
Ford Fusion is currently Blue Oval’s best-sold sedan in the US with range comprising of petrol, hybrid and plug-in models. Fusion currently shares its underpinnings with Euro spec Ford Mondeo, but that wasn’t always the case. Mondeo predates Fusion by almost 15 years, being introduced in 1992. It was first affiliated to Ford Contour and Mercury Mystique, but these badges have long since been retired. Just like the versatile Fusion, Mondeo too offers plenty of choices when it comes to powertrains. Apart from mechanically identical hybrid, Mondeo comes with a host of both petrol and diesel engines. Most of them are 4-cylinder mills, but Mondeo can also be had with 1.0L 3-cylinder for greater efficiency. On the other hand, Fusion should soon start offering 2.7L EcoBoost V6 powerplant.
Chrysler 300 (Lancia Thema)
Chrysler 300 has been a success ever since it was introduced. Bold, radical styling, great performance and luxury that was still more affordable (albeit sub par) compared to German competitors, helped it stay competitive in the luxury car segment. Backtrack a few years, and you’ll stumble upon Lancia Thema which resembles Chrysler 300 in an uncanny way. Maybe because it was based upon it. Although Lancia Thema originally hails from mid eighties, this revived 300-based version had a lot in common with the original car. It too was luxurious, boxy and powerful. Unlike Chrysler 300, which at that time featured 292-hp and 300-hp 3.6L Pentastar V6 (not to mentione Hemi-powered V8 models), Lancia Thema had the engine capped at 282 horsepower. Furthermore, Italian version of the 300 could have been had with either 188-hp or 236-hp VM Motori 3.0L turbo diesel V6. Thema was, sadly, discontinued in 2014.
Buick Verano (Buick Excelle GT)
Verano shares its platform with Opel/Vauxhall Astra among others, but its closest relative has to be the Chinese market Buick Excelle GT. Excelle GT, produced between 2010 and 2016, was a rebadged Astra manufactured by Shanghai GM. As such, it actually precedes the American version of the entry-level luxury sedan. Unlike Buick Verano which was powered by 2.4L naturally aspirated 4-cylinder or 2.0L turbo four engine, Excelle GT was offered with smaller 1.8L naturally aspirated 4-cylinder and 1.6L (1.5L from 2015) turbocharged 4-cylinder mills.
Ford F-150 (Ford Lobo)
Best selling American vehicle doesn’t need introduction. Ford F-150 has practically been the backbone of American economy for decades now. However, full-size pickup goes by another name in Mexico. And for a long time at that too. Since 1992, to be more precise. They call it Ford Lobo south of the border, which stands for Ford Wolf in Spanish. Everything else about the truck is basically the same. Only badges will tell you if it’s the Mexican or any other global market (including the US) version as car names can easily vary.