Fraternal Twins - Badge Engineering by
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.