The automotive industry is one in which you might not realize there are partnerships going on right underneath your nose. Often times you will see cars that are even exact copies of those from other manufacturers as well.
Not to mention platform sharing has become one of the more common things in the industry. Today we are going to go over some of the cars which you might not have realized, come from completely different manufacturers.
Each of these cars has an origin that is quite different than the maker that you know and love. Some simply switch the emblems and name it something different, while others use the platform and chassis to create a completely different looking vehicle, but underneath they are exactly the same.
From cars such as the Pontiac GTO, to imports like the Subaru BRZ and Honda Accord. Each of these cars you might not have realized come from completely different manufacturers. Some were even a last ditch effort in order to save a failing automotive brand, while others were brilliant examples of when rebadged cars work.
Fortunately, we are going to go over some of the best examples of rebadged cars that you might not realize come from completely different manufacturers. Enjoy folks!
25 Shelby Cobra
Where you might think that this is one of the most iconic US muscle cars, and you are right, it actually isn't as unique as you might think.
The Shelby Cobra is a car that actually comes from the AC Cobra, which was produced in Britain, with a BMW engine. Where the looks are exactly the same, the Shelby does indeed have its own unique engine, in the V8, but other than that, it is another rebadged version of the AC Cobra.
24 Dodge Stealth
During the 1990s, all of the automobile manufacturers around the world were competing to have the best sports cars on the market. Unfortunately, this meant there was going to be a lot of platform sharing.
This one was actually a rebadged Mitsubishi 3000GT. Down to the same offering of the twin turbo all wheel drive setup, this Dodge Stealth is just another 3000GT in a different name badge. Fortunately, they both were good cars as well.
23 Chevrolet Camaro
Now, this is one that you might not have seen coming. However, the Chevrolet Camaro was one car that is widely popular in most of the world for being an all-around muscle car. However, the earlier generations of the vehicle actually were rebadged from another.
The Pontiac Firebird of the time shared many similarities to the Camaro, and in fact, they shared the same chassis except with different badges. Fortunately, this was another one of the best examples of when a car is done right with proper rebadging.
22 Lotus Elise
Where the Lotus Elise has become one of the most world-renowned track beasts in the car world, the first generation actually wasn't all of Lotus' design. The small rear engine coupe was actually the birth child of a pairing between Lotus and Opel/Vauxhall.
Each of these actually were the same car, just under different names. On the bright side, each however proved to be equally as menacing on the track as the next. However, it didn't take long for Lotus to realize the potential and they completely designed their own version.
21 Lotus Carlton
The Lotus Carlton actually isn't all Lotus after all. This car is derived from mostly Opel and Vauxhall parts as well. This is just one of the examples that Lotus has with the lot as well. Everything from the body itself, to the chassis.
Even the engine is something that is shared between the manufacturers. This car isn't necessarily just a Lotus after all, you might be surprised that this 90s sedan is actually mostly a Vauxhall versus being a Lotus.
20 Pontiac GTO
Here is one that is a bit more common. The Pontiac GTO is a car that for the longest time has been one of the best US made muscle cars for the price, especially when paired with the LS1 V8 that the car comes with in its newer models.
The newest model however, isn't quite a GM car, it is actually based off a Holden Monaro. The only difference between the two is actually the badges. If you take a close look, everything about the car down to the interior is exactly the same as the Holden Monaro.
19 Chrysler Conquest
This car is one that most people might not know of. However, during the early and mid-1990s, the Conquest was born in the fleet of cars that the manufacturer released. This one was a sporty, front engine rear wheel drive car that actually was a good competitor for many of the other cars on the market.
However, this wasn’t the design by Chrysler, it was actually a Mitsubishi Starion, that simply was rebadged to become the new Chrysler Conquest.
18 Subaru BRZ
Now, this is one of the latest cars that has been subject to rebadging. The BRZ, in fact, is one of the only sports cars that Subaru offers, however, the actual chassis design and nearly everything about the BRZ is actually a Toyota GT86.
The only thing that the BRZ does bring from Subaru is its 2.0-liter boxer engine, which believes it or not, the GT86 also shares. So this little sports car is one that is platform shared and rebadged all around.
17 Chrysler Crossfire
The Crossfire is a car that Chrysler brought out in the early and mid-2000s to bring a different side to the brand as a whole. This two-door sports car was one that didn't end up selling well at all, despite there being an SRT6 version of the car.
However, the Crossfire actually shares most of its design with the Mercedes-Benz SLK. The Crossfire is a car that shares nearly everything with the SLK, plus just being rebadged, this USDM car actually is more European than you might think.
16 Cadillac XLR
This car might not look like something that you've seen before. But believe it or not it shares its chassis with a car that you might know. The Cadillac XLR was like the Crossfire before, a car that Cadillac as a brand wanted to have to reach a different audience.
In fact, the XLR, is actually a Chevrolet Corvette, with different body panels. Under the cosmetics, the car is simply a Corvette, down to its engine. The only thing that differs is the slightly different body panels and badges.
15 Kia Elan
This is a car that we never got in the US, however, this was a very popular attempt that Kia made in order to reach another audience. The Kia Elan is a little two-door car that was offered mostly in Korea and Asia, however, it isn't a Kia at all.
Even down to the name, the Kia Elan is actually a Lotus Elan. This little car isn't much different at all, not even in styling. However, the different badges even drop the price slightly from its counterpart the Lotus Elan.
14 Saab 9-2X
Now even though Saab is a brand that not many people know of, especially in the US, it is a very popular worldwide brand. The Saab 9-2X might look like another car from a different part of the world, well, because it is.
The Saab 9-2X is actually a Subaru WRX Wagon. The Saab 9-2X is the same car. In fact, Saab actually uses more than just the body style, but the turbo boxer engine is completely from the WRX and Subaru.
13 Chevrolet SS
In 2015, Chevy released the SS model to their sports car line. This one was a sedan that actually held its own when it comes to its counterparts in the industry, such as the Dodge Charger. However, little did most people know that this was also a Holden, this time it was the Holden Commodore.
Very similar to its Pontiac GTO counterpart, the Chevrolet SS was actually just a rebadged Holden Commodore that was sold in the US under the name Chevrolet SS.
12 Eagle Premier
Here is a car that most of us might not know of, or even remember to that sense. In the 80s and 90s, Dodge worked closely with Eagle in producing vehicles that shared many of the same features. The Premier is a car that is an example of that.
It is actually a rebadged version of the Dodge Monaco, with different badges. This one isn't nearly as subtle since the only difference is the badge on the car.
11 Opel GT
This is one car that you might be able to see is a bit similar to a very iconic US muscle car of the same era. In fact, the Opel GT is one that we never saw in the States, or did we end up seeing it in one way or another in a different form?
The Opel GT is actually the sister of the 1st generation Chevrolet Corvette. Ironically enough both of the cars are pretty much identical, minus the headlights and badges. Each of these ended up being iconic cars for the area, however, neither truly met one another in person.
10 Honda Accord
Now, this is one that we've come to know and love as it has been one of the best selling vehicles in the US for a number of years. Surely Honda was extremely original with the Accord in this era.
Well, in fact, the Accord is similar to the Acura TSX. Well more surprising is the fact that indeed the Accord and TSX are sharing the same chassis, but the manufacturers are actually the same company as well. Where the TSX got a slightly updated interior and more luxury features, it is still the same as the Accord.
9 Suzuki Cara
This is one car that we never were able to see in the States, as the Suzuki Cara was exclusive only to eastern Asia and the countries that occupy the area. Where this was a car much like the Cappuccino of the time, it was actually a copy of another.
Autozam AZ-1 is the name the car originally held until they partnered with Suzuki and then was born into the Cara. However, the only difference in this case of the car was indeed its badges.
8 Opel Rekord C
While this might just seem that it is a regular Opel of the era, it actually has a twin. In fact, the twin to the Rekord C was actually not too subtle about being the same car after all. Its twin, the Chevrolet Opala SS.
These two cars were exactly the same when they were manufactured, down to the trims and styling. Even the name Opala derived from Opel, namely the only difference was the badges that they were sold under, and the part of the world as well.
7 Mitsubishi Colt
While this one you might have leaned toward making the connection to the Dodge Colt, it actually isn't related. Even as far as the cooperation between Dodge and Mitsubishi historically, they didn't create this car together.
In fact, Mitsubishi produced this car from another manufacturer. The Mitsubishi Colt actually is a Proton Satria GTI. This car isn't too JDM after all, which gives this an interesting mystique to it as well.
6 Audi 80
Like many of the car makers from Germany, Audi is one that has been around for over a century in one form or another. However, it hasn't been uncommon that Audi has platform shared with some of its competition from Germany.
During the 60s and 70s, Audi actually shared the platform of the 80. Its counterpart, the VW Passat of the time. Where Audi put some of their own flair on the car, its chassis and engine are largely the product of VW.
5 Opel GT
Another one of the occurrences of Opel on the list is the Opel GT. This car might seem like a sleek two-door performance roadster, however, it is the product of a copy. This car is actually the exact same as the Saturn Sky.
While both of these companies have hit walls as a whole, they are no strangers of trying to make the best out of what they had. However, that did mean that designs were shared. These two cars differ only by the badges. Down to the engine, each is the exact same car.
4 Suzuki Equator
As a last ditch effort in order to save the company in the US, Suzuki introduced a pickup truck to their line of cars and SUVs. This car actually isn't the design of Suzuki at all. It was borrowed by another automaker in Japan.
This Suzuki Equator is indeed the same truck as the Nissan Frontier of the time. Again with this truck, the only difference is the badges that were placed on it. However, these trucks still are rare, due to struggling sales of Suzuki as a company, and Nissan's dominance.
3 Chevrolet Forester
This might come as a surprise to some, but Chevrolet actually made attempts to become more relevant in India during the early 2000s. However, they did this by platform sharing with another automaker, who has been much more successful at selling in the country.
The Chevrolet Forester actually is the Subaru Forester. Surprising, yes, however, this is an example of simply rebadging at its finest. Not even coming up with another name, or making styling changes. However, this vehicle was only offered for a short time in India exclusively.
2 Honda Passport
In an effort to start gaining more ground and sales in the US, Honda made connections with a much smaller brand, who had an extremely hot-selling SUV. This was during a time where Honda wasn't nearly as dominant as it is now in all sales.
The car in question is the Honda Passport, which actually was a rebadged Isuzu Rodeo. The difference being the badges and nothing else. Due to how popular the Rodeo was at the time, Honda jumped at the opportunity to partner and rebadged this SUV.
1 Acura TLX
In a similar fashion as the Honda Passport, Acura a child brand of Honda made an effort to do something very similar at the same time. However, it wasn't a small SUV in question, it was a mid-sized SUV that Acura named the SLX.
This also was an Isuzu, however with this vehicle it was indeed an Isuzu Trooper, which also at the time was an extremely popular SUV around the world. However, Acura being a more luxury brand, made slight changes in the quality of interior trims especially to have a stronger luxury feel.
Sources: Top Speed, Motor Trend, Car Gurus & Motor 1