Badge engineering is a term that describes the rebadging of one product (especially cars) as another. Due to the high cost of designing and engineering a totally new model, or establishing a new brand (which may take many years to gain acceptance), it is often more cost-effective to rebadge a single product multiple times.
The term derives from the trademark emblems (once made of pot metal) fastened inside or onto the outside of the car. While differences were originally confined to the badges used on the model, more typically it involves slight styling differences, usually limited to the headlights, tail lights, and front and rear fascias. More extreme examples involve differing engines and drivetrains.
Badge engineering is common, but it should not be confused with platform sharing within a company. Platform sharing is different from rebadging, as an automobile platform may be used in many different ways and applications, such as using a single platform to produce and sell a sedan and an SUV. Two such products are legitimately different automobiles, whereas badge engineering involves the sale of essentially a single vehicle.
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Based on extract from wikipedia article