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Sunday, December 13, 2015

6 Foreign Market Cars That Should Be Rebranded for the U.S.


Copyright © 2015 Bold Ride LLC.
2011 VE Series II Thunder Ute.

“The grass isn’t always greener on the other side,” they say. But occasionally in the automotive world, the grass can be just a bit greener, especially outside of the U.S. Sometimes brands reserve specific vehicles just for a foreign market, and leave us American enthusiasts drooling over them from across the pond.
So let’s change that—or at least, pretend to change that in our fantasy land of wishful thinking. These six cars, specific to Europe and other regions, need to be rebadged and sold in the U.S. We’ve also done our best to speculate on what their American counterparts would be named. Hopefully some brands are listening…

Skoda Yeti – Volkswagen Tikaani


If you’ve ever watched an episode of Top Gear, you’ve probably heard about the rough and rugged Skoda Yeti. It’s an off-road vehicle that other off-road vehicles dream of becoming, it’s not particularly handsome to most, but has a certain flair about it that makes it desirable.
With Volkswagen’s long list of troubles, maybe a rebranded Skoda/Volkswagen Yeti could be the hot item to get American’s buying the brand again. And given VW’s penchant for naming its SUVs after tribes and tribal words, the word Tikaani is the inuit word for “wolf.” I think buyers can get down with that.

Opel Adam – Chevrolet Spin


Here in the U.S., we have the horrid Sonic, and the likable, though not all that great Spark super mini. But across the sea, those trendy Europeans are driving around in something sleek, stylish, and pretty darn cool looking.

The Opel Adam hit the scene in 2012, and quickly made a name for itself with its unique look and fun-to-drive persona. For what it’s worth, it’s been a complete success. We can imagine it doing the same here in the U.S. wearing a Chevy badge and bearing some upbeat and entirely trite name like “Spin,” because focus groups.

Holden Ute – Chevrolet El Camino


We assume this is the one you’ve all been waiting for… The Ute is dead in the U.S., and General Motors hasn’t said it has any plans of bringing it back. But why not?

The current SS sedan has been a relative disaster for Chevrolet, and buyers are looking for something more unique to satisfy their palates. A Chevrolet-branded Ute might just be the answer the brand is looking for. Unique, fun, and just all around cool. And do we really have to explain El Camino?

Opel Astra – Buick Astra


Buick isn’t the biggest name in luxury, but it does have a certain unique factor to it that many brands aren’t able to replicate. It was the first luxury brand in the U.S. to have a CUV (compact utility vehicle) in its lineup, and will soon be selling the Cascada convertible—a car branded as an Opel in Europe.

So why not keep the unique train rolling with another new idea: a luxury hot hatchback. Granted, it’s not like Buick would be reinventing the wheel, but the U.S. market is desperately lacking a luxury-branded hot hatchback, and the Opel Astra platform might be the perfect specimen.

 Specifically in OPC guise (seen above). GM did this once before under the Saturn brand, keeping the name. Considering all cars in the modern Buick lineup all have ambiguous, positive names, the Astra would surely fit.

Renault Megane – Infiniti Q20


Continuing on the hot hatch angle, Infiniti could find success in a Euro hot hatchback that U.S. buyers would climb over each other to get. The French-market Megane would be a great place to start—fill the engine bay with Renault’s 220-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder, and Infiniti might have a winner on its hands. The Q20 name would play into the brand’s current naming convention, slotted underneath the forthcoming Q30.

Tata Xenon – Land Rover DT100


Out of all the cars on this list, this one might be the most out of left field—but not all that ridiculous. With the success of the light truck (again) here in the U.S., a Land Rover-branded Tata Xenon might actually have a respectable amount of success.

 It’s worth noting that it would have to be a serious departure from the base Xenon, loaded with luxury and technology galore. The name is derived from the DC100 name, inserting T for “truck.”

Which one of these cars would you like to see imported into the U.S.?