Tag Link: Rebadge


Rather than fork over big bucks to get high-performance versions of sexy sports cars, some enthusiasts are trying to get the bling without the extra ka-ching. They are going to dealers or online auctioneer eBay to buy emblems in hopes their cars can masquerade as versions that would cost thousands more.

"It happens all the time," says Myles Kovacs, president of Dub magazine, which follows car-customization trends. "People want to live outside their means."

Cruising the streets of Southern California, officials at Kelley Blue Book, an auto-buying service, say they've seen Mercedes eight-cylinder coupes rebadged as 12-cylinder versions, a sedan with emblems that would make it a coupe, and fake high-performance AMG or Brabus models.

Occasionally, cars will change brands altogether. "We saw a Ford badged as an Acura. We were dying," says Kelley Blue Book spokeswoman Robyn Eckard.

Online auction service eBay says it sells about 15,000 items a month in the automotive emblem category.

Automakers acknowledge the practice — and don't seem to mind.

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Playing the Rebadging Game: Genuine or Fake?

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