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The phenomenon is different from "badge engineering," in which auto companies take what is basically the same vehicle and sell it under one or more nameplates, making cosmetic changes to the front end, tail lights or putting on another name.

That practice reached comedic levels in the 1980s when Lincoln poked fun at a series of look-alike cars from General Motors in one of its ads. And Japanese companies fell victim to that a decade or two ago themselves, when they were branching out from their original mass market brands to luxury models, and had to use those car and truck platforms until they could develop unique ones for their new brands.
Yeah. Lincoln Zephyr/MKZ-Ford Fusion, anyone? Oh sure, it's nowhere near as blatant (or crappy) as the '80s Cadillac Cimarron was, but I find it funny that they now do what they made fun of then.

Now, he said, "kids want smaller, but not cheaper." Lentz said the average buyer, who is 25 years old, pays $18,000 to $19,000 for their car, including accessories like wheel covers and interior features.
Ford said they couldn't bring the european version of the Focus here because they'd have to charge too much for it. Now we're stuck with a frighteningly ugly warmed-over nine-year-old design that will go over like a lead balloon. Sigh.

I like Ford and I want them to do well, but they need to remove their heads from their nether regions.
 
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