Designs in the United State’s auto industry that are labeled “cutting edge” can have two sides to them. If car companies are lucky, the millions of dollars they spend on lengthy design and research efforts will pay off when they release an outstanding new vehicle. The goal is always to produce an efficient and reliable new car that the public will love. The Ford Fusion Hybrid is an example of a great success. On the other hand, the Ford Edsel is an example of a sedan that was destined for the rust pile from the beginning. Why do some of these design ideas end up bombing? To answer that question, let’s examine five cars from that past that sold horribly.
These are our top 5 worst car flops of all time:
5. The Cadillac Catera (2001 with 9,764 models sold)
The Cadillac Catera was supposed to appeal to a demographic of young sport sedan drivers and was said to be the “Caddy that Zigs!” In actuality, the Catera was basically an amped up V8-loaded Opel Omega. Throughout its four years of sales, there were many issues with this car. Customers had many problems according to Auto Recalls for Consumers. Breaks wore down too fast, engines failed often due to a timing belt tensioner design flaw, and suspensions broke all the time. Finally, the car’s audience was hard to pinpoint with its confusing advertisement that depicted Cindy Crawford and a duck talking.
4. The Pontiac Aztek (2005 with 5,020 models sold)
This car was part minivan, part SUV and a little bit egg carton. Buyers were, to put it frankly, unimpressed with the Pontiac Aztek. Mechanically, there was absolutely nothing wrong with this vehicle. It’s just that it was so completely unattractive that auto designers were using it as a go-to punch-line only months after its inception in the early 2000s. An official at GM even stated that if they could find the guy who would admit to green lighting the Aztek, they’d fire him. Probably the most popularity gained from the Aztek is the fact that Walter White, a character from “Breaking Bad” television series drove the car. In many ways, the car represented the life of Walt: someone who was unable to decide who he was. The Aztek was finally discontinued in 2005 after four horrible years of sales.
3. The Yugo GV (1991 with fewer than 4,000 models sold)
Essentially, the Yugo GV was a car designed for poor Eastern Europeans, but it was sold in the U.S. At the beginning of its run, the Yugo GV’s low price tag resulted in good sales. But that was short lived as the many flaws in design became quickly obvious. Most things that could go wrong on this vehicle, did. Safety restraints were breaking left and right, the radio would fall out from the dashboard on occasion and engines were prone to stall and overheat. As a result of these almost imminent disasters, the car was recently titled “Worst Car of the Millenium” by the NPR show, “Car Talk’s.” listeners.
2. The Lincoln Blackwood (2002 with 3,300 models sold)
Ford wanted to create a luxury pickup, and the result was the Lincoln Blackwood. The truck cost $52,000, but the only color it could be purchased in was black. It didn’t have most of the staples of a pickup truck. For example, it didn’t have a very big truck bed, and there was no four-wheel drive. The sales of the Lincoln Blackwood series were extremely low compared to the success of the F-series from Ford. After only one year, the truck’s production was halted.
1. The Ford Edsel (1960 with 2,848 models sold)
The late 1950’s saw the creation of the Edsel brand by Ford. It was created in competition with the affordable midsizes from GM at that time. Ford hyped up the Edsels a tremendous amount, but the car never lived up to its expectations. Most people saw the excessively styled bodies as ugly. Although marketed as “new,” the chassis were actually the same as those used by Mercury and Lincoln models. In addition, the price of the new Edsel was far above the other mid-size cars in competition. Today, the Edsel is known as one of the hugest failures in marketing that the industry has ever seen. The brand halted production after only three years.