The Five Deservedly Worst Selling Cars in History
2001 Cadillac Catera: 9,764 cars sold
They couldn’t see this one coming. The name, when fit into the tag line “Lease a”, produced the name of a soap opera character; “Lisa Catera” who appeared on ‘Chicago Hope‘ in 1994. Actually, the car failed before the name got in the way because of a mis-handled ad campaign. Cadillac used the line “The Caddy that zigs” to promote the car to a younger audience along with a commercial starring Cindy Crawford, who was 35 when the commercial aired, and Donald Duck, a fine cartoon character but lacking appeal to buyers in their twenties. The real reason for the hopelessness of the Catera was that it was very ordinary in every way in a class of cars that included some very good products.
2005 Pontiac Aztek: 5,020 cars sold
There is a Yiddish expression “Oy Gevalt” which one utters when one realises that only negative consequences will result when a certain action comes to fruition. If there were any Jewish people in the audience when the Aztek was unveiled, they must have said those words with feeling. The car was ugly. There is no other word for it. From every side and every angle, it was awkward and embarrassing. The front had an extraneous air intake stretching across the front just above the headlights that suggested the hood needed to be closed. The side of the Aztek drew the eye to a triangularly shaped window at the very back which simply shouldn’t have been shaped like that. The back extended above the level most rear fascia does, as if someone had goosed a Toyota Prius and made its eyebrows jump.
1991 Yugo GV: Less than 4,000 cars sold
The Yugo GV received the “Worst Car of the Millennium” award from the NPR radio show “Car Talk”. The 1991 Yugo suffered from the a civil war which broke out in the region and interrupted the flow of spare parts from the seceding countries. The car had to be built from left-overs. A car might come from the factory with a brown steering wheel and a blue dashboard. Not fair, but in a free-market economy, fair doesn’t count.
1960 Ford Edsel: 2,848 cars sold
Henry Ford II raised $650 million for Ford Motor Company when it went public in 1956. The experimental car division, which produced the Edsel, lost half of that. At a time when the American public was moving to smaller, foreign cars, Ford brought out an over-decorated, over-priced, big car. It didn’t help that Henry Ford II served in the Navy during World War 2 fighting the people who were building the cars the American public wanted. He adamantly refused to use any Japanese parts in Ford cars. The Edsel wasn’t a bad car if you overlooked the styling and the price. It was just not what the public wanted.
1963 Studebaker Wagonaire: 940 cars sold
The Wagonaire was a convertible station wagon. Not just a convertible station wagon, but a convertible station wagon built backwards. The top slid forward from the rear, opening the luggage area to the outside and keeping the people under cover. Apparently, Studebaker envisioned tailgate parties in which someone would stand up in the luggage area, perhaps leading the crowd in a cappella singing.
Next time you shop in the lots offering cars for sale in Newcastle, be grateful that you won’t encounter any car that could qualify for this list.