Even though there are successful models, legendary cars and influential and innovative vehicles, the truth is, the automotive industry is not always successful. Over the years, the American and global car industry has had its share of embarrassing mistakes and bad designs. They released those simply terrible cars to the market and soon received terrible reviews.
Sometimes car corporations were involved in bad decision making, cover-ups or scandals they couldn’t hide. Thankfully, some journalists or consumer groups brought them to light. But those mistakes are important parts of the evolution of the car since they taught some valuable lessons. Car companies learned by their mistakes and introduced improved models and better concepts.
They sorted out their mistakes and buyers learned that advertising is not always true. Sometimes, behind the high dollar commercials and celebrity endorsements are bad engineering and poor-quality products. So, keep reading to learn about the industry’s worst and most embarrassing mistakes and cover-ups. Perhaps you owned some of these vehicles or considered buying them.
1. Renault LeCar
Back in the early 70’s, economy models were popular, so some foreign companies started importing cars to America in significant numbers. The French company, Renault, was present in the U.S. And they thought it would be a great idea to send its new supermini, the Renault 5, to America. They called it the Le Car, and they wanted it to compete with the new Volkswagen Golf/Rabbit and other Japanese imports.
But, there was a problem. U.S. safety standards imposed the use of different bumpers and grilles. But the 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine only developed 51 HP in U.S.-spec models. Painfully slow, strange in design, small and badly put together, the Le Car soon became the subject of jokes. And people considered it to be the worst choice in the compact car class.
Renault struggled to sell them and eventually pulled out of the market. Despite the success of the Renault 5 in Europe, the Le Car was a terrible failure in the eyes of American car public.