AutoZine 20
10 Flops in 1997-2017

1. Cadillac ELR (2013)

A Chevrolet Volt with half the number of doors and double the price. Cadillac seriously overestimated the appeal of its badge. Only 3000 cars sold in its 3-years life.

2. Chrysler 200 (2014)

Frankly the Chrysler 200 was not a bad car. It looked pretty and built with decent quality. The interior got advanced infotainment system and TFT instrument. Performance from the 295hp V6 was also pretty good. The handling was European-like. Maybe buyers found its rear seat too cramped, or the entry too difficult, or the 9-speed auto too reluctant, or the 4-cylinder engine too weak and noisy, or simply Toyota and Honda more trustful. Its life was cut short to less than 3 years.

3. Fisker Karma (2011)

The plug-in hybrid concept was right, but a small firm like Fisker did not have the right expertise and resources to realize it. Lack of development, poor build quality, the bankruptcy of its battery supplier A123 and eventually the financial problem of Fisker itself led to the car's death. Just over 2000 units were built in 2 years.

4. Ford Five Hundred (2004)

The large Ford was conservative, slow and uninspiring to drive. Supposed to be a big seller, but the outcome was quite disastrous. About 300,000 units were sold in its entire lifespan, including its facelifted version called Taurus.

5. Jaguar X-Type (2001)

Jaguar planned to sell 100,000 X-Types a year, but it turned out to be half that number even at its peak. Dynamically the car was pretty good, but its cabin was cramped and build quality not as good as the German. Platform sharing with Ford Mondeo did not help its image, too.

6. Peugeot 1007 (2005)

The weird 1007 was actually designed and built by Pininfarina in Turin. Its short, tall body combined with twin electric sliding doors should be a sounded solution for congested city streets. Unfortunately, few European motorists bought the idea, unlike the Japanese who is still keeping Toyota Porte alive. Only 124,000 cars sold in 7 years.

7. Renault Avantime (2001)

MPV-Coupe is one of the silliest ideas I have ever heard, no wonder the Avantime was a commercial flop. Renault sold only 8557 units.

8. Renault Vel Satis (2001)

Renault's luxury car was a brave design, but it looked strange and came with a hatchback. Driving dynamics were well below expectation, while ride was too stiff for a French luxury car. Just over 60,000 units sold from 2001 to its extinction in 2009.

9. Tata Nano (2008)

The Nano project was as ambitious as the original People's Car (Volkswagen), set to be the most affordable car in the world. Unfortunately, production problems and quality issues limited its success. Most important, the Indian public still reckoned it too expensive to replace motorcycles. Sales peaked at only 75,000 cars a year, definitely not a new Beetle.

10. Volkswagen Phaeton (2002)

Volkswagen's first luxury car ran against the brand's principles and met with cold reception. Technically it was up to the job, including sophisticated W12 and V10TDI engines, 4-wheel drive, a very stiff chassis and remarkable NVH suppression. Still, no one regarded the VW badge as a symbol of luxury, thus many sales went to government fleets. 84,000 units were sold in its long, 14 years lifespan, about what Mercedes S-class achieved in one year.

Copyright© 1997-2017 by Mark Wan @ AutoZine