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2004 Buick Rainier
Badge engineering is alive — and well.
by TCC Team      (2004-01-12) 



Badge engineering is alive and well. It was just a few years ago that the automakers, especially General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, all were talking about really doing away with the practice, which basically amounts to slapping a different badge and grille on a vehicle already sold by one of the company's divisions. Mercury was supposed to get unique cars. Chrysler euthanized Plymouth in part because it had no unique vehicles to sell. And GM whacked Oldsmobile so it could focus its product development resources on giving every division unique vehicles. Great plan, eh?

Forget it. Enter the Buick Rainier. This sport-ute isn't too much more than a Chevy TrailBlazer or GMC Envoy with Buick's signature falling-water grille. I'm sure that Buick styling is indispensable for the division's die-hards, however many there are. But in reality, the Rainier exists because, with the death of Oldsmobile and its Bravada SUV, GM needed to maximize production at its mid-size SUV plants and do so without forcing more inventory on Chevy and GMC dealers. GM workers are now turning out Rainiers instead of Bravadas. Also, Buick dealers need something more to sell.

For the entire review click: here.
Personally I find this review ludicrous, especially when compared to this review of the Nissan...er sorry the Infiniti QXarma, I mean, QX56: http://thecarconnection.com/index.asp?arti...5&sid=181&n=157

It states:
Perhaps that's not so surprising. The new SUV is, to be blunt, a well-dressed version of the Nissan division's new Pathfinder Armada SUV. And both share much of their DNA with Nissan's first-ever full-size pickup, the Titan. Most notably, that includes a fully boxed ladder frame.
Give me a break, its more of a re-badge job then the Rainier is, yet they rave at its gorgeous exterior, powerful engine (the same one as in the cheaper Nissan) and its crafty interior (though they do state that there is too much plastic). But at least they didnt start off with saying re-badge 50 million times!! I think we should all e-mail TCC flood their editor's mailbox and force him to realize the mistake they have made...or not...its up to you guys....!
 

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All I know is if you look close, there is hardly a similiar piece of sheet metal that any of the 3 share (rainer, trailblazer, envoy) so I dont know what they are talking about
 

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I don't think the review of it is ridiculous, but rather its ridiculous that they stared off saying Badge Engineering a million times while they said they "Share DNA" between the QX and Armada. Sorry but the Rainier isn't badge enginineering all the way, the interior is modified, the exterior is different then the trailblazer and it offers a more powerful engine with specific Buick traits! How is that badge engineering, because they share the same platform??
 

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I have been in a Rainier and Envoy several times, and they are ALOT different. The Rainier is very classy on the interior, while the Envoy's interior is very proffesional looking, but I wouldn't call it luxury...

The only thing that is the same on both is the....uhhhh...steering wheel :blink:


Please! The QX56 and the Armada are MORE than just DNA, the interior and exteriors are IDENTICAL, escept for that enormous grille and lights... ;)
 

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I may be in the minortiy, but I've found TCC's articles to be innacurate at times, a bit amateurish, and a little too short, but I've also found them to generally more generous and forgiving towards domestics. In fact, at one point I was so used to reading scathing reviews from Car & Driver & Edmunds types, that I was shocked to find a website that dealt so much with domestic car news & reviews, and generally seemed favorable towards them.

Obviously this isn't the case with the Rainier review, but I myself have expressed a lot of negative opinions about the whole Trailblazer and Venture clone lineup that does indeed reek of badge engineering.

Sure, Nissan is doing the same kind of thing with the Pathfinder Armada and new Infiniti SUV, but they aren't doing it with four or five brands....! :angry:

If GM insists on "maximizing production" by giving us clones of the same mediocre (not stellar) vehicles with different front fascias , a little chrome here and there, and slightly different interiors they are only dooming their brands to equal failure.

The logical conclusion is that if Chevy and perhaps Buick alone can't sell a blockbuster vehicle in good numbers (like the new "CSVs"). Selling it across 5 different brands won't make it a more attractive or better vehicle, and will only get them the reputation for rebadging mediocre cars & trucks.


GM engineers need to put all of the effort and money that goes into making 5 different Trailblazer clones and make one (or two at the most) REALLY GREAT vehicles. Then they can hit their all-important sales quota without diluting brand image. And maybe they'll have money left over to give Saab a version of the Cadillac SRX with a turbo, instead of a Trailblazer clone with the same powertrain as a Chevy for an SUV.

With all of this said, I still think the Rainier is a good Buick -- in a vacuum, or in some parrallel universe where Buick and Chevy are the only GM brands.
 

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I'm sure that Buick styling is indispensable for the division's die-hards, however many there are.
I think this statement (emphasis added) says it all about where these people are coming from.

Please also see my rant in the Press Room topic on this article.
 

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Hey, did you folks see this quote in the article?

GM is reviving its moribund brands in sequence. Cadillac was first, now Pontiac is up. Buick is next and, if it survives, Saturn will get new product later in the decade. So consider the Rainier one of the stop-gap measures to help Buick dealers prop up sales until GM can give the division some real funding.
Excuse me? "Pontiac is up"? WRONG! Chevrolet is getting the big marketing and product treatment now with its American Revolution campaign, and it's not even mentioned as one of the brands under revival.

...not that these guys don't do their homework or anything. <_<
 

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ARRGGHH! This topic always makes me mad... This is crazy. To me these SUV's show a great attempt to move away from badge engineering. Yes they share the same mechanicals but a mojority of there sheet metal is different, and there interiors are very different, they just dont add new grilles and badging. If you want to see real badge engineering look to the eightys cars, or GM's previous mid SUV's these new ones replace. I do agree however that maybe some more things should be exclusive to the Rainier like maybe a Nav screen rear parking assist, or other lux touches that will help make this vehical even more unique. Other than that this a great vehical that is helped out by platform sharing, with a little bit of parts bin sharing. not just a badge engineering job. So :p
 

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It is a great vehicle platform that is shared by: Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Isuzu, and Saab.
The odd thing is that the one brand that is probably the most deserving of the platform.... doesn't have it... and that's Cadillac.
Selling the Trailblazer as a "mini-Escalade" is sure to bring in far more sales than a 9-7X. Plus it makes more sense to have a baby Escalade.

Oh well. Make your judgements in April when the 9-7X launches. <_<
 

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Originally posted by mgescuro@Jan 13 2004, 03:41 PM
It is a great vehicle platform that is shared by:  Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Isuzu, and Saab.
The odd thing is that the one brand that is probably the most deserving of the platform.... doesn't have it... and that's Cadillac.
Selling the Trailblazer as a "mini-Escalade" is sure to bring in far more sales than a 9-7X.  Plus it makes more sense to have a baby Escalade.

Oh well.  Make your judgements in April when the 9-7X launches.  <_<
As much as I pop off in defense of the Ranier, I have to admit to some sort of visceral reservations about the use of the TrailBlazer platform for Saab. I think my problem is that it just isn't "Saab material"--it just doesn't seem that you can make it look, talk, and walk like a Saab no matter how much you work with it.

The same goes for the 9-2--it just doesn't look like a Saab. Maybe I'd feel differently if I actually drove one, but I can't imagine how you can make a Subaru into real Saab material.
 

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I think they've done a nice job of making the Impreza into a Saab-looking vehicle. But putting a 9-3-like front clip on a Subaru and calling the wagon a hatchback isn't enough for me to call it a Saab. Subaru makes outstanding vehicles. Saab makes interesting (not being derogatory here) vehicles. But Saab "DNA" has been reduced to turbo engines (but not in the 9-2X Linear or 9-7X) and floor-mounted ignition (again, not in the 9-2X or 9-7X). They've lost most of their "quirkiness"...traditionally known as "Saabness." No more fishbowl windshields. No more "backwards" engine mounting. No more cavernous cargo holds. Now we've got Epsilon-based sedans...with many nice European driving characteristics...but lacking Saabness.

Cadillac should NOT lower themselves to the GMT360. It's bad enough that they're making mildly rebadged GMT800 trucks. Don't rebadge Chevrolets (!!!!) as Cadillacs. If you're going to invest in the Cadillac brand, make it the "Standard of the World"....not a polished "rock."
 

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I've been selling Chevy and Buick for over 7 years. And I myself have been driving a trailblazer for over two years. I will say I would have liked a little more exterior treatment,but the Rainier has all the right stuff under the skin and on the inside. I love the chrome door handels the thinsulate in the wheel wells, the laminated windshield and side glass the nicer looking gauge cluster, the smoother ride. All of which are executed much better then my Trailblazer. Drive one a couple miles and you will feel the difference more then see it. I'd drop my Tailbalzer in a heart beat.( If I could get 7 passengers) The point is underneath it all, it is quite a different ,better mid size.
 
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