The three bland mice …

Ler­ato Matebese and Mark Smyth com­pare three mod­els that are ac­tu­ally the same

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS -

ECONOMIES of scale, play an in­te­gral role in the ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­tur­ing seg­ment with the cross-shar­ing of tech­nol­ogy, and, in this in­stance, three tech­ni­cally in­dif­fer­ent mod­els cloaked in dif­fer­ent suits.

Mit­subishi’s ASX, a cross­over ve­hi­cle in the mould of the Nis­san Qashqai et al, which was launched locally last year, has spawned the Citroen C4 Air­cross and the Peu­geot 4008. Thank­fully, each man­u­fac­turer has its own take on the model’s aes­thet­ics with the Mit­subishi per­haps the least flam­boy­ant, an ac­co­lade that the Peu­geot gets in­stead.

That is not to say the Citroen is not at­trac­tive, far from it in fact, but the pug’s ren­di­tion seems to crack the nod with has a wider range and presents the best value for money of the trio.

Badge engi­neer­ing, is a nasty phrase that many car mak­ers would pre­fer to see left in the an­nals of 1980s and 1990s mo­tor­ing his­tory. Just think back to the Ford Fi­esta and Mazda 323 that ef­fec­tively sealed Sam­cor’s fate. In re­al­ity, though, the trend was way ahead of its time and while to­day it is called plat­form shar­ing, or col­lab­o­ra­tion, in many re­spects it is ef­fec­tively the same thing.

While the Toy­ota brand pushes up sales of the diminu­tive Aygo ev­ery month, this car is in fact ex­actly the same car as the Citroen C1 and Peu­geot 107, built in the same fac­tory by the same peo­ple and ro­bots us­ing the same parts.

Plat­form-shar­ing has spawned three mod­els that are too sim­i­lar in their iden­ti­ties, with the Peu­geot 4008, above, barely dis­tin­guish­able from Mit­subishi’s ASX and the Citroen C4 Air­cross, top.

Ex­cept for mi­nor de­tails, the in­te­ri­ors are all vir­tu­ally the same on the Citroen, top, the ASX, above, and the Peu­geot, at bot­tom left.

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