Fraternal Twins - Badge Engineering by Matchbox
by Doug Breithaupt

What's good for General Motors... is also good for Matchbox. GM is famous for producing the same car under different names. Matchbox, now under the ownership of Mattel, is following that example with two models of a the same SUV. As the Isuzu Rodeo, this SUB is sold in the US and Asia. In the UK, it is known as a Vauxhall Frontera. Both Isuzu and Vauxhall are controlled by GM.

Of course you can't buy a Vauxhall in the US and Matchbox follows by only offering the Rodeo to US buyers. The Frontera is offered by Matchbox in a variety of international markets, including Canada, where this example was purchased. The Rodeo comes with wild rally graphics, not inappropriate as Isuzu is active in world rallying. The Frontera is offered in handsome silver without any graphics. The Frontera is number 55 while the Rodeo is number 56. On the base of both vehicles, the appropriate name is hot stamped and not part of the actual casting. Otherwise, the castings are identical. Are there other examples of diecast badge engineering? The '70's Ford/Mercury Capri might have been offered that way but all my examples are labeled as 'Ford' products. Matchbox could have also offered the 1983 Ford Sierra XR4 under the Merkur label to US markets but did not. Norev produced a dead-ringer for the AMC Alliance of the 1980's but it was only offered as a Renault 9. Matchbox has offered Vauxhall/Opel sister cars in the past but both names have been cast on the base plate. The first was the 1985 Vauxhall Astra GTE/Opel Kadett GSi. The second was the 1989 Opel Vectra/Vauxhall Cavalier. I am not aware if different packaging was used for different countries. If this 'Rodeo-Frontera' dual diecast packaging concept has happened before, I cannot think of an example. Help me out if you can, via the Guest book.