27. Chevrolet Corvair
In the late ’50s, Chevrolet presented the Corvair, a revolutionary compact car with a rear-mounted, air-cooled, flat-six engine. For a couple of years, it looked like everything was okay with the Corvair, and sales were good. That was, until a book called, Unsafe at Any Speed hit the bookstores across the country, causing big problems for GM. The book’s author, Ralph Nader, was a consumer advocate. He discovered some classified documents showing the Corvair was responsible for many car accidents, some even with fatal outcomes.
Apparently, the engine in the back of the car caused the Corvair to become difficult to handle. Chevrolet was aware of that, but they didn’t want to invest any money in additional stabilizer bars and suspension modifications. Soon, the book gained publicity and the public demanded answers while drivers continued to report crashes in the Corvair. Chevrolet was involved in government hearings where the company admitted its executives knew about the matter. In the end, they paid the settlement and promised to invest money in safety research. Corvair sales dropped dramatically, causing Chevrolet to discontinue the model in 1969.