If you’ve ever taken a Chevy Equinox for a test drive, then I’m sure you quickly realized your mistake, returned the vehicle promptly to the dealership, and spent some time rethinking your life afterward. In the great battle of the 2022 Chevy Equinox vs the 2022 Honda CR-V, the opening salvo required little more than for Honda to let people see what the Equinox has to offer and come to the only reasonable conclusion. Chevy dealerships, on the other hand, have had to fight viciously for even meager sales of the unpopular SUV that they’ve been laden with through their license with Chevrolet.
Recently, one dealership decided they were fed up with seeing the look of perpetual disappointment their customers wore when looking at the Chevy SUV lineup. They took immediate; some would say dramatic action to rectify the situation and to offer their customers vehicles that they would actually want. Unethical? Perhaps, but the results speak for themselves: their customers have never been happier, and sales are up for the “Chevy Equinox.”
A Modern Solution
A particular Chevy dealership in Tantamondo, Texas, they requested their identity be withheld for this piece, noticed a trend that they didn’t like: the Equinox just wasn’t selling. They had plenty of customers coming to them looking for a great compact crossover SUV, but when they showed them the Equinox, the customers wouldn’t go for it. Some looked sad or disappointed, a few threw up at the sight of it, one even threatened to sue the dealership for harassment, but no one wanted to buy the thing.
After some time, one of the dealership’s salesmen had a thought: “The name’s good, it’s just the vehicle that sucks.” After a bit more consideration, and several more drinks, he came up with a solution: keep the name, and replace the vehicle. After a few more drinks, he went to a Honda dealership and bought several of their CR-V models, which he took back to his lot. He then stripped off the CR-V badging and replaced them with the Chevy Equinox badges, upped the price a bit to recoup his expenses, and let nature take its course.
As you might expect, the vehicles sold quickly. When offered an American vehicle that was made as well as a Japanese import, customers fought each other to secure an “Equinox.” I spoke to the salesman, and he told me, “It was the damnedest thing. It’s almost like people will give you money for a good product if you have it. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Nothing good lasts forever, and people eventually began to discover that their Chevy vehicles were, in fact, Honda CR-Vs. You’d expect this to happen quickly, but we’re talking about Texas here, so it took a few years. “People started to get suspicious after the first year when their vehicles didn’t break down,” the salesman from the dealership told me. “They were used to Chevy models being made out of old pizza boxes and rebar strapped together with zip ties. When we sold them good vehicles, they were a bit confused.”
Once the truth came to light, their customers were enraged. While they had a decent crossover that they could actually enjoy, they had also been tricked into buying an import model from overseas. Even worse, it came to light that the dealership had started swapping their Equinox models for Hondas and sneaking them onto their competitor’s lots. “We lost 80% of our customers,” one of their competitors told me. “It was a nightmare— one day we’re selling decent vehicles people wanted, and the next, we had a lot full of Chevy Equinoxes!”
What This Means for the Future
As of right now, Chevrolet and GM have denied comment on this situation beyond calling it, “The actions of a single dealership and not emblematic of the proud Chevy tradition.” Although there were several initial complaints by customers, the disquiet quickly died down when people realized they’d accidentally purchased a good SUV rather than a Chevy. When I mentioned the unethical nature of this practice to the salesman at the lot, he responded, “You’ve heard of rebadging in the auto industry, right? That’s all I did—just rebadged the CR-V as the Equinox.”
I attempted to inform him that that wasn’t what “rebadging” means, to which he responded, “It means what I want it to mean. Words are whatever we say—so it’s rebadging. Shut up, nerd!” He hung up with me after that, though even if he hadn’t, I would’ve had no rebuttal against such an astute observation.
Editor’s Note: We attempted to contact one of the competing Honda dealerships for comment on this piece, but all the ones we’ve found have gone out of business after six months of trying to sell the Chevy Equinox. While several complaints were filed by them, they were ignored since they’re out of business and their owners are poor now. Thank you.