It’s not a secret that the automotive industry is built around sales success. If a car isn’t selling or it is controversial (perhaps even both), it means the difference between millions of dollars or a huge loss for the company that made it. Many automotive companies were bankrupted for many reasons, and indeed the car industry is cutthroat. But even the most successful automotive companies have had close calls with failed projects. For example, the exalted Ford Motor Company has teetered on collapse more than once.
The most catastrophic events in the automotive industry have centered around vehicles like the Ford Pinto, which had an exploding gas tank, or the Chevrolet Corvair, which was dubbed unsafe at any speed by the United States Congress. But companies like Ford and GM always found ways to heal the damaged reputation from these vehicles. However, there is no denying that these cars from the big three automakers almost bankrupted their companies at one point or another. Look back at these infamous moments in automotive history right here.
The Pinto was a car that was designed to help consumers with the high fuel prices of the 1970s. Automakers moved toward fuel-efficient cars and thus the Pinto was at the forefront for Ford Motor Company. The debacle that happened with the fuel tank was understandably enough to cause the car to have a great deal of controversy surrounding it (via Tort Museum).
The Pinto was initially a great selling vehicle for Ford but that luster quickly wore off. The car was plagued by all kinds of other quality issues. Surprisingly enough Ford based the third-generation Mustang on the Pinto platform. The car was a far cry from the muscle car that it once was and the Pinto was a joke overall for car buyers.