33: Mercury Topaz
The Topaz and Tempo were both massive sales successes for Ford, and while that was all well and good, their reputation suffered. The build quality of these two compacts was inferior from the start. The cars don’t just look cheap, they were cheap. Common occurrences would be radio dials that fell off, cheap glass, ripped interiors, and worse. Reliability was often questionable right from the showroom floor. The Topaz had a slightly more rounded look than the Tempo, but the car still managed to have its own identity. The problem is that the Topaz wasn’t unique enough to give Mercury its own footing on the market.
Consumers knew that this was a Tempo, albeit slightly dressed up. Ford did a decent job of trying to market the car as an upscale alternative to other compacts that were on the market. Nevertheless, the result was a car that just further tarnished the blue ovals reputation in the automotive industry. To this day, the Topaz is relegated to junkyards all over the country. You seldom see these things on the roadways anymore and with good reason. The build quality was shabby at best and the reliability just didn’t add up. It took Ford decades to improve on the reliability of their compact cars up until the most recent variation of the Focus.