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Username Post: The Biggest Automotive Flops in History        (Topic#6413)
Posts: 249

Reg: 09-24-07

08-11-13 02:42 PM - Post#6831    

The Biggest Automotive Flops in History

While some cars have captured either the love of drivers or of collectors and sold very well, others didn’t make much of a stir. In fact, some where downright flops. Some of these vehicles just didn’t sell, while others looked horrible or had so many technical problems that most of them were recalled. Here are a few of the biggest automotive flops in history and why they were major losers.

• One of the most well-known automotive flops in history was the DeLorean DMC-12. The only car manufactured by the DeLorean Motor Company, west it was made famous by the Back to the Future movie series. However, the movie wasn’t filmed until 1985—the DeLorean Motor Company had been bankrupt for three years before the movie premiered, so even though the film was a hit, it didn’t help the company at all. Engineering issues, budget overruns, and company founder John DeLorean’s arrest in 1982 all lead to the company going out of business before it could benefit from the film series. However, a new company, DMC Texas, revived the model in 2007 and has started producing new DeLoreans.

• The DeLorean’s design was partially inspired by the Bricklin SV-1, a Canadian car that was created by Malcolm Bricklin, the founder of Subaru of America. Like the DeLorean, one of the key parts of this car, produced between 1974 and 1976, was its gull wing doors that opened upward instead of outward. However, Bricklin ran into funding problems and, despite the success of Subaru, he had very little experience in producing and marketing vehicles. Bricklin couldn’t produce the SV-1 in large enough quantities, and the company closed in 1976 after producing less than 3,000 cars.

• Ford had its own flop in the late 1950s. The Edsel was the king of flops for several decades. Ford’s goal with the Edsel was to compete against Chrysler and General Motors, but the car’s design wasn’t very popular. In fact, a number of people considered it ugly, and there were rumors of poor workmanship as well. The marketing campaign for the Edsel was also very poorly handled. Consumers were uncertain what made the car so special or even at whom it was aimed. In the end, it was projected that Ford lost what would today be about $2 billion dollars on the Edsel.

• Vector Motors Corporation, formed in the 1970s, set out to create the first affordable supercar in the U.S. However, its founder, Jerry Wiegert, quickly gained a reputation for making claims that were unfounded or virtually impossible. When he said the company’s first model, the W2, would be produced in 1981, few believed him. The company didn’t actually produce a customer Vector until the late 80s, and even then, they only made 22 of them. These cars were incredibly expensive, priced at almost half a million dollars. The lack of experienced leadership from Wiegert and the fact that the car was far from affordable lead to Vector’s acquisition by a manufacturing conglomerate based in Indonesian in 1993.

• Even the best classic car manufacturers go wrong some times. Jaguar’s X-type, one of the more recent automobile flops, is proof of that. The X-type was prone to many different types of failure and malfunction. The plan was for the X-type to serve as a basic sports sedan aimed at the young businessman. However, it wasn’t priced at a sedan level. Due to how expensive it was and its poor quality overall, the X-type was definitely a loss for Jaguar. That didn’t stop them from trying to market the car for eight years: released in 2001, they kept producing versions of the X-type until 2009.

• The biggest failure of the Chevrolet SSR was that it tried to be everything at once. Par car, part pickup, part convertible—it was supposed to be everything for everyone, but because of its horrible design, few people purchased the SSR. It didn’t help that in addition to being ugly, it was also underpowered and fairly expensive. The SSR was produced between 2003 and 2006, when it quietly vanished from the market.

• Another interesting vehicle that was killed because of its looks was the Suzuki X-90. The basic idea was to take a truck’s basic look but remove many of its features like the bed and the back seat. The a final car was a tiny two-seat SUV with removable roof and very little storage space. The X-90 performed very poorly, although a similarly designed vehicle, the Suzuki Sidekick, was a success.

While some of these flops lead to their company’s downfall, others were just a small black mark on the records of major companies. Many learned from the mistakes they made with these poorly designed and marketed vehicles, leading to new and improved cars that performed much better.

Author Bio: Matt Robertson is head Honcho at Leland West Insurance Brokers, Inc. This role consists of being an Underwriter, classic insurance, Programmer, Writer, Janitor, Fireman and Boss. An avid racer, Matt's credo is "will work for tires"

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