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: Misfires: It seemed like a good idea at the time

04-26-2011, 06:03 PM
Misfires: It seemed like a good idea at the time
Ross Musick

For every home run, there's thousands of strikes. For every Friends, there's a Coupling. For every Big Mac, there's a Mc DLT.

The same is true of the automotive world. Each year, there are new vehicles that never quite live up to their hype, with many ultimately being used as a "bad" example for years to come.

So, here's our list of the top 5 automotive flops of the modern age. Don't take the news to hard, manufacturers. We're sure it seemed like a good idea at the time. On paper. Or something like that.


Chrysler Crossfire

Among the first fruits of the Mercedes / Chrysler "merger of equals," the Crossfire was a Mercedes SLK-based coupe and convertible. German mechanicals and American styling... What could go wrong? The answer is plenty.

Although the Crossfire did in fact have Mercedes roots, the car was mostly based on a older version of the SLK. This left the Crossfire feeling, driving, and handling like a much older car than it was. The interior design and quality drew few compliments, and featured all the usable space of a cinder block.

The Crossfire as an art piece was successful. The Crossfire as a car was a failure. After accumulating a 230 day supply of cars and listing units for sale on Overstock.com, the Crossfire was put out to pasture in 2007.

http://image.motortrend.com/f/roadtests/8512287+pheader/112_0107+2002_lincoln_blackwood_pickup+front_right .jpg

Lincoln Blackwood

Picture a Ford F-150 SuperCrew pickup. Now, picture that truck with four leather bucket seats, a nearly useless bed, and a tuxedo. Ford's Lincoln brand, on the rise following big success with the Navigator luxury SUV, tried to reach similar results with the brand's first ever pickup.

While the vehicle was praised for its handsome looks, the stainless steel-lined bed with fixed, power tonneau cover severely limited the usability of the cargo box. The truck was delayed more than once, putting off buyers who were lining up to lay down cash.

Ultimately, the Blackwood was cancelled after just one model year. As popular as the Navigator was, the buying public just wasn't willing to accept a Navigator with half the seats and half the usable space.


Honda Ridgeline

On paper, it makes sense: Combine the utility of a pickup truck with the efficiency and driving dynamics of a car. Unfortunately for Honda, things didn't work out like they had hoped.

Surely, Honda saw the need for a pickup, as even the staunchest Honda loyalist had to leave the brand if they needed a truck, buying a Ford, Dodge, or Chevy to park next to their Accord. Without access to a truck frame or sensible V8 engine, they took the Odyssey minivan platform and went to work. The end product was lackluster, delivering capabilities that struggled to match their V6 competitors with efficiency and pricing near their V8 competitors. On the market since the 2006 model year, rumors of the pickup's death have been swirling for a few years. For now, at least, it's still in the lineup.


Chevrolet SSR

What do you get when you cross retro pickup styling, an SUV platform, and a retractable roof? The 2003 Chevrolet SSR. Meant as a unique, sportscar "toy," the SSR lacked the performance to entice Corvette buyers, and lacked the capabilities to match its pickup-truck look. Engine upgrades in 2005 and 2006 addressed the power issue, but the SSR's packaging was a losing proposition. The SSR ended production after the 2006 model year.


Volkswagen Phaeton

How much would you pay for a Volkswagen? VW unveiled the Phaeton sedan to the US market for the 2005 model year. The car was richly appointment, but an astronomically high sticker ($85k for a VW?) kept the buyers away. The Phaeton was priced well into BMW, Mercedes, and Audi territory.

Word to the wise: People who want VW's don't buy $85,000 cars, and people who buy $85,000 cars don't want VW's.

04-27-2011, 12:44 AM
no arguments about that list, PREMiERdrum
but I'd really like you to keep going with it beyond the 'sore thumbs'
maybe with category-oops
-- styling so bad it's beyond belief (besides ACURA?)
-- strangely missing features (know I got some but awake enuf yet to remember)
-- like unusable rear seats (headroom &or legroom) ...to avoid stepping on any toes, maybe that Nissan(?) coupe that I almost LOL'ed when the autoshow presenter said it was 5 passenger, a few years ago

David Stanley Ford
04-27-2011, 02:25 PM
Oh give the Chrysler Crossfire a break, it's a red-headed stepchild.

04-28-2011, 10:29 AM
The Blackwood just didn't have enough to separate it from the Ford F-150. Versailles wasn't on the list surprisingly. That was a Monarch/Granada clone. Where was the poster child for ugly: Pontiac Aztek?

Andrew L
04-28-2011, 11:54 AM
The Blackwood just didn't have enough to separate it from the Ford F-150. Versailles wasn't on the list surprisingly. That was a Monarch/Granada clone. Where was the poster child for ugly: Pontiac Aztek?

Incorrect, the Blackwood was very different, its major shortcomings were the impractical bed. It was like a large trunk with a power cover and carpeted which made it usless. Also it could only come in RWD, no 4WD was availabe.

Like I said on GMI I would rather see the Aztek than the Ridgeline however on this list