List of automobiles notable for negative reception

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The following is a list of automobiles notable for negative reception. They are judged by poor critical reception, poor customer reception, safety defects, and/or poor workmanship. For inclusion, these automobiles have either been referred to in popular publications as the worst of all time, or have received negative reviews across multiple publications. Some of these cars were popular on the marketplace or were critically praised at their launch, but have earned a strongly negative retroactive reception, while others are not considered to be intrinsically "bad", but have acquired infamy for safety or emissions defects that permanently damaged the car's reputation.


1950s

1956 Renault Dauphine

While the Renault Dauphine was a major sales success in Europe, where it is seen as one of the forerunners of the modern economy car, it received a very strong negative reception in the United States, largely for its poor performance. A period review of the Dauphine by Road & Track magazine found that the Dauphine took 32 seconds to accelerate to 60 MPH from a standstill.[1] Autoblog included the Dauphine on its list of "The 20 Dumbest Cars of All Time" and it was included on Time Magazine's list of the "50 Worst Cars of All Time", with writer Dan Neil calling it "The most ineffective bit of French engineering since the Maginot Line", while noting that its performance "put the Dauphine at a severe disadvantage in any drag race involving farm equipment."[2] The Dauphine also placed 9th on Car Talk's 2000 "Worst Car of the Millennium" poll.[3] Renault apologized for the Dauphine's flaws in American print advertisements, marketing its successor as "The Renault for people who swore they wouldn't buy another one".[4]

1957 Trabant

The Trabant was introduced in Communist East Germany in 1957. Because of its outdated and inefficient two-stroke engine (which produced poor fuel economy, low power output and thick, smoky exhaust) and production shortages, the Trabant was regarded with derisive affection as a symbol of the extinct former East Germany and of the fall of the Eastern Bloc. Many East Germans streamed into West Berlin and West Germany in their Trabants after the opening of the Berlin Wall in 1989. The Trabant was named one of the 50 worst cars of all time by Time Magazine and was included in Automotive Atrocities! The Cars We Love to Hate by Eric Peters. Automotive journalist Dan Neil noted that after East Germans drove their Trabants to freedom in West Germany, they immediately abandoned them.[5]

1958 Edsel

Launched with considerable publicity, the Edsel was the culmination of $400 million in investment and marketing by the Ford Motor Company to create a new brand of car to compete against the General Motors brands Buick and Oldsmobile. Marketed as a radically different new car, the Edsel failed to impress the buying public – despite containing new features such as self-adjusting brakes and automatic lubrication, which would be adopted across the automotive industry – and became such a large commercial failure that the name "Edsel" remains synonymous with "commercial failure" in American popular culture.[6] Time Magazine included it on its list of "The 50 Worst Cars of All Time", with automotive journalist Dan Neil writing that while the Edsel wasn't a bad car, "It was the first victim of Madison Avenue hyper-hype. Ford's marketing mavens had led the public to expect some plutonium-powered, pancake-making wondercar; what they got was a Mercury.[7] The Los Angeles Times included it on its list of the 10 worst cars sold in America, calling it a "redecorated Mercury that had been beaten with an ugly stick. The legendary flop of all automotive flops."[8] CNBC placed the Edsel on its list of the 10 ugliest cars of all time;[9] the Edsel's unique "horsecollar" grille has been frequently ridiculed for resembling female genitalia.[7] However, in the book Automotive Atrocities! The Cars We Love to Hate, author Eric Peters declined to include the Edsel and defended it, saying, "People made fun of the Edsel – Ford's $400 million mistake – but its resemblance to a chrome-splattered bus station urinal aside, at least the Edsel worked. Though hideous, you could count on the mechanicals underneath the skin, which were solidly Ford and thus as good as any other car of the era."[10]

1960s

1960 Chevrolet Corvair

While the Chevrolet Corvair was popular and critically praised upon launch, it earned scrutiny for its rear-engined layout with a swing-axle rear suspension, which gave it different handling characteristics from other cars and caused a high amount of highway accidents among drivers not used to the Corvair's unusual handling. Over 100 lawsuits were filed against General Motors in response, which resulted in consumer advocate Ralph Nader specifically scrutinizing the Corvair in his 1965 book Unsafe at Any Speed. This negative publicity was compounded by the revelation that GM declined to include suspension upgrades that would have given the Corvair safer handling for cost reasons.[11] GM's attempts to discredit Nader further brought negative publicity.[12] CNN included the Corvair on its list of "The Ten Most Questionable Cars of All Time",[12] and it was included on Time Magazine's "50 Worst Cars of All Time".[11] Former GM executive John DeLorean asserted in On a Clear Day You Can See General Motors (1979) that Nader's criticisms were valid.[13] Former Ford and Chrysler President Lee Iacocca said the Corvair was 'unsafe' and a 'terrible' car in his book, Iacocca: An Autobiography.[14] Dan Neil wrote, "Chevrolet execs knew the Corvair was a handful, but they declined to spend the few dollars per car to make the swing-axle rear suspension more manageable. Ohhh, they came to regret that."[11] The controversy around the Corvair eventually led to the founding of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as well as mandatory safety testing in the United States.[12] Curbside Classic author Paul Niedermeyer named the Corvair as one of the major "deadly sins" that led to GM's downfall.[15]

1970s

1970 AMC Gremlin

The 1970 AMC Gremlin, a shortened version of the AMC Hornet, was introduced for 1970 as an entry to compete in the emerging market for compact cars. However, its odd styling and out-of-date technology has earned it lasting derision. The Gremlin was included on Time Magazine's list of "The 50 Worst Cars of All Time," CNN's list of "The Ten Most Questionable Cars of All Time," placed 4th on Car Talk's "Worst Car of the Millennium" poll, and named by CNBC on its list of the ten ugliest cars of all time. Including it in his book Automotive Atrocities! The Cars We Love to Hate, author Eric Peters wrote that the Gremlin had a "distinctive 'What happened to the rest of your car, buddy?' look that became the Gremlin's signature design feature." He also said that the 1970 Gremlin's lack of disc brakes, radial tires and use of vacuum operated windshield wipers "hearkened back to the technologically sophisticated days of 1935."[10] Dan Neil wrote that, "[Richard] Teague's design team basically whacked off the rear of the AMC Hornet with a cleaver. The result was one of the most curiously proportioned cars ever."[16]

1971 Chevrolet Vega

While the Chevrolet Vega earned critical acclaim upon launch, was named the Motor Trend Car of the Year for 1971 and became a best seller, its reputation would be permanently marred upon the revelation of severe quality and reliability issues. While its aluminum block engine and new method of rustproofing were initially praised as innovative, the Vega was proven to have an extreme vulnerability to corrosion and premature engine failure. By the late 1970s, Vegas were becoming scrapped at such a high rate that many junkyards refused to purchase them or would crush them without removing any of their still usable parts.[17] Autoblog included the Vega on its list "The 20 Dumbest Cars of All Time." It placed 2nd on Car Talk's poll of "The Worst Car of the Millennium," was named on Forbes' 2004 list of "The Worst Cars of All Time" and named by Car and Driver one of the 10 most embarrassing award winning cars, stating, "The Chevy Vega is on everyone's short list for Worst Car of All Time. It seemed the only time anyone saw a Vega on the road not puking out oily smoke was when it was being towed."[18] Popular Mechanics published an article on the Vega on the 40th anniversary of its launch, stating that the launch of the Vega was the catalyst that put General Motors on the downward spiral that culminated in its bankruptcy in 2009.[17] It also took note of the Vega's high sales numbers in relation to its poor quality, noting, "Since the Vega sold so strongly (almost 2 million were built before it left production after 1977), the result was that literally hundreds of thousands of buyers were having awful experiences with the car.[.....]Surely, those customers were then far more willing to consider the Japanese alternatives that were starting to arrive."[17] Curbside Classic author Paul Niedermeyer named the Vega as one of the "deadly sins" that lead to GM's downfall, writing, "The Vega was GM's Watergate/Waterloo, the beginning of the inevitable end."[19] In his 1979 book On a Clear Day You Can See General Motors, former GM executive John DeLorean devoted an entire chapter to the Vega, describing how top executives knew about the Vega's quality problems prior to launch and claiming that a Vega prototype literally fell apart during testing.[13]

1971 Ford Pinto

While the Ford Pinto was a strong seller that got a decent reception, its reputation was permanently marred upon the discovery that the car could catch fire upon being rear ended due to a defective fuel tank design, as well as the revelation of the infamous "Pinto memo", which revealed that Ford executives knew about the design defect and decided to do nothing after calculating that paying off lawsuits was cheaper than re-engineering the car. Including the car in his book Automotive Atrocities! The Cars We Love to Hate, Eric Peters discussed the "Pinto memo", noted that it would have only would have cost Ford $1 per car to reinforce the fuel tank, and summed up the Pinto's entry with the line, "See how much corporate America cares?"[10] Furthermore, the Pinto was included on Time Magazine's list of the 50 worst cars of all time, Forbes' 2004 list of the worst cars of all time, ranked third on Car Talk's "Worst Car of the Millennium" poll, named to CNN's list of "The 10 Most Questionable Cars of All Time" and first on Autoblog's list of "The 20 Dumbest Cars of All Time".

1971 Morris Marina

From its release, the Morris Marina has been criticized for its performance, styling, handling and poor build quality. The Telegraph included the Marina on its list of "10 Cars That Should Have Never Been Produced".[20] British motor journalist Jeremy Clarkson has criticized the Marina across multiple television shows: In his 2000 series Clarkson's Car Years, he compared the Marina to the Austin Allegro to determine which one was worst, and he once destroyed a Marina in an automotive game of Conkers on one of his DVDs. Clarkson has said of the Marina that, "It cost 40 million pounds to develop, which since it was meant to be hopeless, was too much," and that its rear suspension "Dates back to a medieval hand cart." Destroying Marinas has become a running gag on the BBC series Top Gear, which has drawn the ire of Marina collectors and resulted in complaints to the network. In addressing the complaints, Top Gear presenter James May has stated that at least one Marina needs to be preserved in a museum as "a warning from history".

1972 Renault Le Car

The Renault Le Car was a modified version of the Renault 5 for sale in the United States. The Le Car placed 6th on Car Talk's poll, "Worst Cars of the Millennium." Included in the book Automotive Atrocities! The Cars We Love to Hate, author Eric Peters wrote of the Le Car, "The Le Car – also known as the Renault 5 in Europe – was a sad little runt of a machine with over-small tires and a rear end that begged to be kicked, just like the class loser back in junior high."[10]

1973 Austin Allegro

The Austin Allegro was launched in 1973, intended to be a radical clean sheet design by British Leyland. However, it has been strongly criticized since its reputation for its poor quality and odd styling. In his book Crap Cars, writer Richard Porter says "the only bit of the Allegro they got even vaguely right was the rust-proofing". The Allegro was placed second worst in his list, beaten only by the VW Beetle.[21] The poor reputation of the car and the inefficient production and management techniques in British Leyland at the time at which it was produced have meant that the Austin Allegro has become associated with waste, inefficiency and poor quality. In Clarkson's Car Years Jeremy Clarkson compares the Austin Allegro to the Morris Marina. He concludes the Allegro was a better (less bad) car than the Marina, because the Allegro was a horrible car in a more original way than the Marina. Clarkson further said of the Allegro that it was "hideously ugly", whoever proposed its square steering wheel should have had pens thrown at him, and that "it was more aerodynamic going backwards." In 2007, Sir Digby Jones, in criticising the inefficiencies of the Learning and Skills Council, said, "It is what I call 'the British Leyland model' – you put a lot of money in at the top, and an Austin Allegro comes out at the bottom".[22]

1974 Ford Mustang II

While the Ford Mustang II was well received by both critics and consumers upon its launch, today it is strongly criticized for being a poor-performing Pinto derivative, even though its good fuel economy made it popular after the 1973 oil crisis. Car and Driver listed the Mustang II as one of the 10 most embarrassing award winners, stating, "Instead of the powerful car the Mustang had been, here was a poseur with wheezing four- and six-cylinder engines under the hood. And except for better fuel economy, there were no compensating virtues."[18] Autoblog named the Mustang II as one of the 20 dumbest cars of all time and claimed that for it to have been named the 1974 Motor Trend Car of the Year, "Motor Trend, back in the day, had to be trading annual honors for ad pages."[1] Eric Peters wrote of the Mustang II in his book Automotive Atrocities! The Cars We Love to Hate, "Reeling, wild-eyed and increasingly desperate [in the wake of the 1973 oil crisis and new emission requirements from the EPA], Ford belched up the Pinto-sourced, "downsized" Mustang II – a car with all the kick of a watered-down Shirley Temple."[10]

1975 AMC Pacer

Intended to be a radical new concept, as well as being the first automobile to use cab forward design, the AMC Pacer's odd styling has also been criticized. It has been included in Forbes' 2004 list of the worst cars of all time, Time Magazine's "50 Worst Cars of All Time", CNN's "The 10 Most Questionable Cars of All Time", and in the book Automotive Atrocities! The Cars We Love to Hate by Eric Peters, which features the Pacer on the cover. The Pacer has also been notably lampooned in the 1992 film Wayne's World. Dan Neil has described the Pacer as a "glassine bolus of dorkiness".

1975 Bricklin SV-1

The Bricklin SV-1 was brought to life by automotive entrepreneur Malcolm Bricklin, who funded development and production of the car from the government of the Canadian province of New Brunswick. Production stopped in early 1976 when the company went into receivership. Including the Bricklin on its list of "The 20 Dumbest Cars of All Time", Autoblog wrote, "Memo to the world: When an automobile executive starts a new car company and proposes to name the car after himself, run like a stag in the opposite direction, lock your check book and credit cards in a safe and ask your best friend to keep the combination away from you no matter how much you beg for it. This scenario never turns out well."[1] Including it in his book Automotive Atrocities! The Cars We Love to Hate, Eric Peters acknowledged the numerous safety features the Bricklin helped to pioneer before writing, "In theory, it all sounded fabulous....But the SV1 was basically a kit car cobbled together using mish-mashed leftovers acquired from Ford and American Motors. Lack of money and technical and engineering resources was evident in the way the car was put together. It had the look and feel of a teenage hot rod project built in the backyard with a Sawzall and some RTV."[10]

1975 Triumph TR7

The Triumph TR7 was one of the last models produced by Triumph before its demise in 1984. The TR7 was widely ridiculed for its styling – a popular urban legend states that legendary Italian auto designer Giorgetto Giugiaro examined a TR7 at an auto show upon its debut, before walking over to the other side of the car and exclaiming, "Oh my god – they did it to the other side too!" Quality problems tended to undermine the car's image in the market place. This was primarily the result of the poor relations between management and workforce and frequent strikes at the Speke factory near Liverpool.[23] In its Frankfurt Motor Show preview edition of September 1977, the German magazine Auto, Motor und Sport reported that the engine of a TR7 press car had given up the ghost and "started to boil" while undergoing a maximum speed measurement exercise over a 4 km stretch of track as part of a road test.[24] It was included on Time Magazine's list of the 50 worst cars of all time; automotive journalist Dan Neil wrote that the main issue with the TR7 was that "the cars were so horribly made. The thing had more short-circuits than a mixing board with a bong spilled on it."[25] Jeremy Clarkson criticized the TR7 and destroyed one in his DVD special Heaven and Hell.

1976 Chevrolet Chevette

The Chevrolet Chevette has commonly been criticized for its poor performance, poor build quality and general cheap feel. It has been included in Time Magazine's list of the 50 worst cars of all time, CNN's list of the "10 Most Questionable Cars of All Time" – where it was described as "Pathetic",[26] it placed 5th in Car Talk's poll "Worst Car of the Millennium," and is included in the book Automotive Atrocities! The Cars We Love to Hate by Eric Peters. In its inclusion, Peters poked fun at the Chevette's name, suggesting, "Owners of Chevy's austere little econobox could also casually mention their "'Vette" parked outside to comely (if gullible) prospects at singles bars – though it was critical that said prospects consume a minimum of three double-strong Long Island Iced Teas before suggesting a ride back to your parents' basement."[10]

1980s

1980 Chevrolet Citation

When the Chevrolet Citation was introduced in early 1979, it received a strongly positive response and was the 1980 Motor Trend Car of the Year, and sold more than 800,000 units in its first year. However, it received scrutiny for numerous safety and quality issues, which led to a record number of recalls and a sales collapse.[27] Car and Driver named the Citation one of the most embarrassing award winners in history due to its numerous build quality and safety issues: "Things started going terribly wrong as soon as the X-car got in the hands of consumers. While staring down 60-month payment books, Citation owners were having trim bits fall off in their hands, hearing their transmissions groan and seize, and finding that if they listened closely enough they could hear their cars rust....As GM's first front-drive compacts, the X-cars were significant vehicles: They slaughtered GM's reputation for a whole generation."[18] Car and Driver and several other car magazines at the time were duped when GM lent them specially modified versions of the X-body vehicles in which heavy torque steer (for which they became infamous) had been engineered out. Patrick Bedard of Car and Driver said that they were completely surprised by this when they drove a production version some time later.[28] Curbside Classic author Paul Neidermeyer stated that the Citation is one of the major "deadly sins" that lead to GM's downfall.[27]

1980 Chevrolet Corvette 305 "California"

Emission requirements in the US state of California, which are frequently more strict that those in the rest of the country, required that all Corvettes sold there during the 1980 model year be fitted with a 180-horsepower 305 cu. in. "smallblock" V8 engine with a 3 speed automatic transmission. This model of Corvette is particularly derided for its poor performance. Edmunds.com named this model the 3rd worst Corvette of all time,[29] Time Magazine listed it as one of the 50 worst cars of all time, and it is included in Automotive Atrocities! The Cars We Love to Hate by Eric Peters. Dan Neil wrote of the 1980 small block Corvette, "[California state regs] required that the barely adequate 350 cuin smallblock in the 1980 Corvette be replaced with a wholly inadequate 305 V8, putting out 180 hp of pure shame. On top of that, the "California" Corvette sucked its pitiful rivulet of horsepower through the straw of a torque-sapping three-speed automatic transmission....These were dark days indeed."[30] Eric Peters noted in the 305 Corvette's Automotive Atrocities entry that the 305 Corvette is today rejected by enthusiasts, not mentioned in official histories and collector guides note buyers to avoid this model and that it will never appreciate significantly in value.[10]

1981 Cadillac V8-6-4

For the 1981 model year only, Cadillac offered a feature on its V8 engine called the V8-6-4. On this engine, up to four cylinders could be deactivated while cruising to save fuel. However, the system suffered from numerous drivability issues as the computer technology at the time couldn't deactivate/reactivate the cylinders fast enough.[10] Many owners got fed up with the engine's poor performance and had the system disabled by mechanics.[31] Including the engine in Automotive Atrocities! The Cars We Love to Hate, Eric Peters called the V8-6-4 "one of the best ideas gone horribly wrong to ever reach production" and it was "the last thing a by-now-reeling Cadillac needed on top of the still-festering diesel imbroglio."[10] The V8-6-4 is also included on Time Magazine's "50 Worst Cars of All Time". Today, cylinder deactivation systems are a common feature on large-engined automobiles, including many produced by General Motors.

1981 DeLorean DMC-12

Despite the popular following the DeLorean DMC-12 has as a result of the popular 1985 film Back to the Future, it was a commercial failure when first introduced and was critically derided. Including the DeLorean in Automotive Atrocities! The Cars We Love to Hate, Eric Peters stated, "If the DMC-12 had offered exotic-level performance to go with its exotic-level price, things might have been different. But as it turned out, the DMC-12 wasn't even competitive as a performance car with the run-of-the-mill six-cylinder Camaros, Firebirds and Mustangs of the era.", while noting that a DMC-12 was significantly more expensive than a 1981 Chevrolet Corvette.[10] Top Gear writer Richard Porter included it in his book Crap Cars, calling it "dismal",[32] while it was also included on Time Magazine's list of the "50 Worst Cars of All Time"

1982 Cadillac Cimarron

The Cadillac Cimarron was a hasty attempt for Cadillac to compete with smaller European luxury cars from manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Facing time constraints, Cadillac simply marketed a fully equipped Chevrolet Cavalier with upmarket trim for twice the price of its other J body siblings. The Cimarron was included in Time Magazine's list of "The 50 Worst Cars of All Time," was named the 8th worst car of the Millennium by Car Talk, placed 4th on Autoblog's list of "The 20 Dumbest Cars of All Time," and is included in the books Automotive Atrocities! The Cars We Love to Hate by Eric Peters and Crap Cars by Richard Porter. Dan Neil says that the Cimarron represents, "Everything that was wrong, venal, lazy and mendacious about GM in the 1980s was crystallized in this flagrant insult to the good name and fine customers of Cadillac.....This bit of temporizing nearly killed Cadillac and remains its biggest shame."[33] Autoblog wrote, "It was a re-badged Chevy – a bad Chevy at that – and everyone knew it. Engineers at GM who were ordered to carry out the brief hated working on it. A few, we are told, even took early retirement to get out of it."[1] In Automotive Atrocities, Eric Peters wrote, "In the 1920s and 1930s, Cadillac was a respected peer of Bugatti and Rolls-Royce, the 'standard of the world' among luxury cars. By 1982, GM's premiere division had reduced itself to pawning off tarted-up Chevrolet Cavaliers, hoping no one would notice – at least until after the buyer's check cleared."[10] Forbes placed the Cimarron on its list of "Legendary Car Flops," citing low sales, poor performance and the fact the car "didn't work, coming from a luxury brand."[34] CNN Money described the Cimarron as "in all important respects, a Chevrolet Cavalier. It also added thousands to the price tag. In all, it was neither a good Cadillac nor a good value. Today, GM executives will readily admit that this was a bad idea."[35] Car and Driver said a subsequent Cadillac product director, John Howell, kept a picture of the Cimarron on his wall captioned, "Lest we forget."[36] Paul Niedermeyer named the Cimarron as one of the "deadly sins" that led to GM's downfall.[37]

1982 Chevrolet Camaro "Iron Duke"

For 1982, the redesigned Chevrolet Camaro offered the 90 hp Iron Duke 4 cylinder engine with a 3-speed automatic transmission as its standard powertrain – something that was strongly derided in such a car with a high-performance reputation. This variant of the Camaro was included in Time Magazine's list of "The 50 Worst Cars of All Time". Including this car in Automotive Atrocities! The Cars We Love to Hate, Eric Peters wrote that the Iron Duke equipped Camaro gave owners "the humiliation of being left in the dust by K-car station wagons."[10]

1983 Renault Alliance

Introduced for 1983, the Renault Alliance was a compact car co-developed by French automaker Renault and American Motors for sale in the United States. While initial sales were strong and the car earned critical acclaim, retroactive reviews of the Alliance are strongly negative. Car and Driver included the Alliance on its list of "The 10 Most Embarrassing Award Winners in History", using the piece to apologize for placing the Alliance on their 10 Best list in 1983 and continued by writing, "The Alliance proved that Wisconsin workers could assemble an Renault with the same indifference to quality that was a hallmark of the French automotive industry. By the late '80s, the sight of rusted Alliances abandoned alongside America's roads was so common that their resale value had dropped to nearly zero."[18] The Alliance is included twice in Automotive Atrocities! The Cars We Love to Hate, with author Eric Peters giving the Alliance and its high-performance GTA variant separate entries. Peters described the Alliance as a "K-car wannabe" and said of its joint development with Renault, "Not since Thomas Jefferson's Louisiana Purchase....had the French agreed to such an ill-conceived deal."[10]

1984 Maserati Biturbo

The Maserati Biturbo has earned a negative reception for numerous reliability problems. Including it in Time Magazine's list "The 50 Worst Cars of All Time", Dan Neil wrote, "Everything that could leak, burn, snap or rupture did so with the regularity of the Anvil Chorus. The collected service advisories would look like the Gutenberg Bible."[38] In the August 1990 issue of Road & Track, it was noted that Biturbos had "Mis-set carburetor float levels caused the engine to stumble during left turns, pick-up wires in the distributor cracked from the heat, water ran through cylinder sleeves, fluids leaked from faulty seals throughout the drivetrain, fuse boxes melted, and coolant temperature warning lights came on even when the engines weren't overheating."[10] Including the Biturbo in Automotive Atrocities! The Cars We Love to Hate, Eric Peters wrote that the Biturbo "would viciously nickel-and-dime its owner to death with 'little things' that would drive all but the those truly devoted to its survival into the toolbox for a large ball peen hammer."[10] In Crap Cars, Richard Porter slammed the Biturbo for "build quality best described as 'approximate'" and styling that "looks like a child's drawing of a car."[32] In an episode of Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson expresses disdain for the Biturbo before destroying one by dropping a dumpster on it.

1985 Yugo

The Yugo, a modified Zastava Koral from Yugoslavia sold in the United States, was roundly panned for its poor performance, poor build quality and numerous safety defects, enough to where the car became the frequent butt of jokes during its time.[39] The cover of the February 1986 issue of Consumer Reports featured a Yugo getting stared down by a Peterbilt truck with the caption "How much car do you get for $3990?"[39] The included review, which slammed the car, said that a used car was a better buy.[39] In 2000, Car Talk voted it the "Worst Car of the Millennium".[39] Additionally, the Yugo was included on Time Magazine's list of the 50 worst cars of all time and CNN's list of the "10 Most Questionable Cars of All Time". Dan Neil wrote that the Yugo is the "Mona Lisa of bad cars" that "had the distinct feeling of being assembled at gunpoint."[40] Including it in Automotive Atrocities! The Cars We Love to Hate, Eric Peters said that the Yugo was "less reliable than the exchange rate of an African 'people's republic' or a Halliburton financial disclosure", that it "[taught] folks the hard way about getting what you pay for" and that "The Yugo will likely hold in perpetual ignominy the title of 'Worst Car Ever Sold to the American Public'".[10] Jeremy Clarkson drove a Yugo 45 and said of it, "I got my foot welded to the floor – absolutely welded to the floor – and all that happens is that I'm chewing up petrol in a miserable 5 gallon tank, you'll use it up in about two minutes! And look at it! And it gives you a headache! The hateful, hateful car!" Describing its performance as so bad "you'll get overtaken by wildlife," Clarkson eventually destroys it with a tank.[41]

1990s

1990 Chevrolet Lumina APV

The 1990 Chevrolet Lumina APV and its variants, the Pontiac Trans Sport and Oldsmobile Silhouette, were introduced for the 1990 model year in an attempt to provide a stylish alternative to the Dodge Caravan. However, it was strongly criticized for its awkward driving position and strange styling, with many publications nicknaming the vans "Dustbusters" due to their resemblance to the handheld vacuum cleaner. In Crap Cars, Richard Porter describes the van as "[Resembling] an enormous Dustbuster with detailing work by a group of lightly trained monkeys."[32] The Trans Sport was included on CNBC's list of the "10 Ugliest Cars of All Time."

1990 Chrysler Imperial

For the 1990 model year, the Chrysler Imperial nameplate was applied to a long-wheelbase variant of the Chrysler K platform. The 1990 Imperial was #10 on Autoblog's list of "The 20 Dumbest Cars of All Time", with the author criticizing its out of date mechanicals and cheesy styling, claiming that the Imperial is evidence that "Lee Iacocca should have been banned from design studios at some point" and suggested that the Imperial is a reason to reevaluate Iacocca's legacy.[1] Included in Richard Porter's book Crap Cars, he said of the Imperial, "[it] was based on the K-car, which, as bad starts go, is up there with being the offspring of Tom Arnold. To cover the embarrassing parentage Chrysler had to disguise it, apparently by asking everyone in the company for styling suggestions. And then they used them. All of them."[32]

2000s

2001 Pontiac Aztek

From its launch, the Pontiac Aztek has been critically panned, mainly for its controversial styling, which former General Motors executive Bob Lutz described as resembling an "angry kitchen appliance". Autoblog listed the Aztek #2 on its list of "The 20 Dumbest Cars of All Time", criticizing its styling and stating, "GM execs cheaped out here, and were leading a system which minimized the influence of competent designers, and maximized the influence of accountants to produce cars at the cheapest cost."[1] In its entry on Time Magazine's list of the 50 worst cars of all time, Dan Neil wrote, "I was in the audience at the Detroit auto show the day GM unveiled the Pontiac Aztek and I will never forget the gasp that audience made. Holy hell! This car could not have been more instantly hated if it had a Swastika tattoo on its forehead."[42] The LA Times named the Aztek the "Worst Car Ever Sold in America", stating that "It's the very worst car of all time because it's the only one to destroy an 84 year old car company. It's undeniable that the Aztek's utter hideousness drove the biggest and last nails into Pontiac's heavily side-clad, plastic coffin."[8] The book Sixty To Zero by Alex Taylor III, which details the fall of General Motors, prominently features an Aztek on the cover. CNBC listed the Aztek as one of the 10 ugliest cars of all time. The last entry in Automotive Atrocities! The Cars We Love to Hate, Eric Peters says of it, "The only vehicle to look like it's been in a bad accident even before it left the factory, the Aztek will be remembered as evidence that advanced degrees in automotive design are not necessarily indicators of good taste – or spelling ability."[10]

2007 Chrysler Sebring

The 2007 Chrysler Sebring earned strong critical derision upon its launch. When The Truth About Cars reviewed the Sebring upon its launch in late 2006, writer Jonny Lieberman panned it and said, "I don't get it. DCX must be trying to kill Chrysler......Do I sound insane? Paranoid? Delusional? I cannot think of another remotely credible reason why any carmaker, knowing full well that the Camry and Accord are out there, would bring such a tired dog to market. Seriously, how profitable can rental cars be?"[43] In a 2009 comparison between it, the Chevrolet Malibu and the Ford Fusion, The Truth About Cars writer William C. Montgomery placed the Sebring dead last, criticizing the styling as being "an Art-Deco mess" and said the Sebring is "the worst of all cars tested in this class – American and Japanese – for both ride quality and excessive body roll."[44] In a 2007 comparison test with competitors, Car and Driver placed the Chrysler Sebring in last place, stating, "Everyone who climbed aboard the Sebring felt it was aimed a buyers for which Buicks had become too racy" and that the interior looked like it had been "constructed from the parts of five different cars to look like the lobby of the Chrysler Building."[45] In a later review, Car and Driver said, "However, the Sebring is one of the least appealing cars in its class, finishing last in a recent Car and Driver comparison test of four-cylinder mid-size sedans. The engines are not especially refined, the handling and the ride are mediocre, and the interior quality is substandard. It doesn't even look that good, which is disappointing given that Chrysler used to have a reputation for excellent styling, not to mention the Sebring's handsome predecessor."[46] Jeremy Clarkson slammed the Sebring convertible in a 2008 review, saying that it was "the worst car in the world today." He continued, "All [the powertrain] did was convert fuel into noise", it had " the overwhelming sense from everything you touched that it had been built by someone who was being deliberately stupid or who was four years old" and that to buy a Sebring convertible over a Volkswagen Eos you'd have to be "so window-lickingly insane that you'd be banned from handling anything other than crayons."[47] Following a major refresh done to the car for the 2011 model year it was renamed the Chrysler 200 as a result of the major amounts of negative brand equity that came to surround the "Sebring" name.

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