They weren't the worst, but each tells a story of sin, from greed to arrogance/manufacturer website
The list was long, yet in more than 130 years of cars, with hundreds of small and large manufacturers, rich and poor, the auto industry had plenty of opportunities to showcase cars that were gloriously bad. Some of them are those that should have disappeared from the first moment they were raised as an idea, and it is not clear how they managed to get to the assembly line and realize that they were not a good idea at first like the Fiat 500L or the 500X. Some of them were so embarrassingly and transparently bad that you're really glad that customers who were tempted to buy them were also punished – cars like the Yugoslav Yugo and Dacia Delta of the 80s. Collaborations that make sibling marriage seem like a great idea - Alfa Romeo and Nissan together gave birth to the Arena that took the credibility of Italians and the dynamic skill and inspirational design of the Japanese instead of the opposite happening. Sometimes these were the products of a terrible lack of awareness and greed - look at the Hummer H2 value, which soon after its appearance became a symbol of everything that was flawed, bad and broken in the American auto industry.
Still, we chose 5 cars, some familiar and some lesser, but each tells a different angle of the process that ends with a bad car coming to market. Some destroyed the brand they came from, some severely damaged its name, others were just an example of trying to make easy money on a bad product.
So cheers to the bad cars, even the worst of which provide us with a good story.
Ford Edsel, the size of the hype and buzz - the size of the fall/manufacturer website
Ford Edsel - gloriously bad
The days are the mid-50s, the United States is in a crazy economic boom and the car market is exploding with models and is in a buying binge of customers who need renewals every year to keep returning to showrooms. At Ford, they decide to go for something else - not just another new car - but a new brand. The idea was to create an array of sub-brands similar to GM, which owned Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Buick, Chevrolet and Cadillac, which marketed similar products to different audiences. It was supposed to coincide with Mercury's position at the manufacturer, above the popular Ford, below the prestigious Lincoln.
So in 1958 everything was ready and Ford introduced Edsel, the brand named after Henry Ford's only son who died at the age of 49 and the father of then-Ford manager Henry Ford II. The hype was high, expectations sky-high, a huge advertising campaign called it the "car of the future". But by the time it came out, it was at best a car of the recent past.
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Changing the design to a more modern one in the last marketing year also didn't help/manufacturer website
A combination of a mild recession, high price and changes in audience taste in light of GM and Chrysler's new designs made the Edsel look outdated, customers were put off by the vertical grill and the quality was not impressive either. To top it all off, Hasdell was simply trying to forcefully invent a brand whose customers were unclear. The company already had good coverage of the price ranges from popular to prestige, and for many of them it was simply unclear what Edsel's role was. It was too expensive for those looking for a popular brand, not sporty or innovative for those who wanted a young, not high-quality, representative or familiar image for those who wanted a fancy luxury brand.
To Ford's credit, this terrible fiasco lasted only two years until they decided to strangle this venture and get out of the story with "only" $250 million in damage ($2.5 billion in today's terms).
NSU broke out of the small car business into the big league with this car, that was also the end of it/manufacturer website
NSU Ro80 - Motor Rotary Failure
For a few moments in the late 60s, the German automaker NSU looked like a wonder, the manufacturer that was founded at the end of the 19th century as a manufacturer of weaving machines and by the end of that century had experienced difficulties in the past, entering and exiting the world of car manufacturing, with motorcycles always being its economic anchor. But from 1957 it went back into car production with great success with the Prince with a rear air-cooled engine. In the second half of the 60s, it began to enter the world of rotary wankle engines with the Sports Prince, and this experience led it to introduce the Ro80 in 1968.
It was a large and elegant family, with a design that years later still looked good, thanks to the golden touch of designer Klaus Lotha, who later was also responsible for the Audi 50 (the original Volkswagen Polo) and later moved to BMW where he signed the first 3 Series, the E30 and its successor, the E36, the second generation of the 7 Series and the original 8 Series.
The engine with the rotary pistons around, how complex is that problematic / manufacturer website
Back on the Ro80, the car was extremely advanced for its time. Front-wheel drive, semi-automatic transmission, independent suspension, power steering, disc brakes front and rear, aerodynamic. Remember the experience with the Wankel engine? He was also here, smooth, strong and... Shockingly unreliable. Car owners soon found themselves forced to move overalls or change engines even before 50,1973 kilometers, the small automaker, which was already struggling with high production costs and high consumer prices, had to endure warranty claims that simply crushed it. The pieces were picked up by Volkswagen, which bought it and later merged it into Audi. The fuel crisis of 80 was another blow to this car that did not boast very good fuel economy. But despite everything, even in relatively low numbers, with improvements it received throughout its life, the Ro1977 managed to stay on the assembly lines until <>. But the manufacturer who gave birth to her she had already buried.
One day I may spread my wings, but that day has not come/Veloce Books
DeLorean DMC12 - The Lost Time Machine
John DeLorean was a meteor, the man credited with inventing the muscle car with the Pontiac GTO of 1964, later GM's youngest division manager, and just as quickly as he soared at this corporation he was ejected for his tendency to do the things he thought were right (usually just him) in his own way. DeLorean decides that with or without GM - he is going to build his car and show everyone what it is. Only in practice despite a quaint appearance and a few brilliance, the product itself was indescribable garbage. The decision to build the car in war-torn and conflicted Ireland in order to win government subsidies, the terrible Renault-Volvo V6 engine, terrible road behavior that even Lotus could not solve, a criminal financial mess, the criminalization of involvement in cocaine smuggling and those doors – which looked great but worked terribly at first – were too much for this manufacturer that collapsed along with its first and only car.
The person who redeemed it was Steven Spielberg, who used it as the "time machine" in the Back to the Future film series, giving it iconic and desirable status.
Ford wanted Jaguar to compete in the compact luxury family category as well, it didn't work/manufacturer website
Jaguar X Tape - The Queen Won't Help Either
In the late '90s, the pocket-swollen Ford goes on a motor shopping spree and puts Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo in the basket. For about a decade, until the economic blow of the crisis in 2008, these companies operated under this large conglomerate, sometimes enjoying access to means of production, budgets and a comprehensive system that they could only dream of, but sometimes also discovering the less nice side of a large landlord who thinks he knows everything better than you. In Jaguar, this is reflected in the X Type – which in 2001 was presented as Ford's attempt to bring Jaguar into competition with small luxury families such as the Audi A3 4 Series, Mercedes C Class as representative examples. The solution was to take the Ford Mondeo, load it with the Jaguar XJ design that had been adapted to its small size and looked like a sad caricature, and release it to the market in hopes of hunting young customers.
The design of the XJ did not fit on the dimensions of the Mondeo on which it was based/manufacturer website
And although the car was just fine, when it came to convincing younger customers, Jaguar discovered that "young" doesn't necessarily mean "stupid" and this trick was a bit too much. What worked for Volkswagen with the Passat-based Audi A4 didn't work here. The V6 engines it originally came with weren't amazing except for the fuel consumption it was, but not in the good bit, certainly with its constant all-wheel drive. In the twilight and towards the end of its life, it was marketed with 2.0-litre diesel engines and 2.5- or 3.0-litre petrol engines from Ford's warehouse. Positively noted is the estate version, which, together with all-wheel drive, actually brought some good news to those who wanted the useful configuration with the eclipse of Jaguar, its most famous customer - the late Queen Elizabeth. The initial reception and expected annual sales of 100,350 units turned out to be exaggerated, to say the least. By the end of its life, about 8,50 units had been sold over 11 years. With 2005,3 units delivered in its best year and then dropped to just under 107,22 units in 25 (just for comparison, the Series 2008 delivered <>,<> units that year).
For those who still feel adventurous, the good news is that as its value drops, you too can feel like a British aristocrat for about NIS <>,<>-<>,<> for one of the <> prices equivalent to the Prius, a Siwek from those years.
The car that would have been better left in the world at first. In the end, they went to the Japanese for a reliable engine/manufacturer site
Chrysler TC - Bad Impact
You know the concept of not mixing business and friends? So that's it, that the two people we're going to talk about here probably didn't know this - Lee Iacocca was one of the wonder managers of the American auto industry, the man who signed the Mustang, one of the engines behind Ford's GT40 project in the 60s and after being ingratitude, the one who went to save Chrysler, brought the news of minivans and small cars, and at the end of his career also the Viper. He was a marketing genius and a manager whose moves are taught in business schools. But with all due respect, at least in this case, he took this story one step too far.
Chrysler's genius, this time it didn't work for him/manufacturer, manufacturer website
Iacoca, an Italian by birth, had a special bond with Alejandro De Tommaso, then Maserati's CEO, and in 1989 the two released the TC by Maserati, an open version of the cheap K-family cars that had undergone Maserati enhancement treatment.
This included a turbocharged 2.2-liter engine with 200 hp and a 16-valve head from the Italian manufacturer, a 5-speed manual transmission from the German Getreg and more. But the bottom line is that the whole thing was incredibly bad, not only in terms of the product but also in its positioning level - those who understood something in cars knew it was a lousy bluff, those who didn't understood didn't care. Things deteriorated from moment to moment when, in 1990-1991, the unreliable turbo engine was replaced by a Mitsubishi V6, adding another dimension to the insult of the Maserati emblem on a Chrysler car with a Japanese engine.
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