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12 of the Car Industry’s Biggest Flops, Scandals and Mistakes

Vukasin Herbez November 6, 2018

10. Audi 5000

Today, Audi is one of the leading luxury brands in the American market. But in the late ’80s, the company was almost gone from U.S. shores. This was due to the news of unintended acceleration and numerous crashes with the Audi 5000. But, in 1986, the popular CBS TV show, 60 Minutes, ran a feature about the unintended acceleration with the 5000 models.

What the viewers didn’t see was that they rigged the car. The acceleration they featured in the show wasn’t genuine. After the show aired, the car community was buzzing, badly damaging Audi’s reputation. Audi responded by publishing numerous tests and videos showing the only way unintended acceleration occurred was if the driver’s foot slipped from the brake to the accelerator pedal.

However, that didn’t help, so their sales hit rock bottom. Despite the fact that 60 Minutes published a false story and they proved Audi didn’t have acceleration problems, the damage was done. It took the company two decades to recover. It is still unclear why CBS did that feature. Many people wonder if another rival car company was behind it.

11. Takata Airbags

The Takata case is still open and it could be the biggest recall case in the history of the car industry. From 2000 to 2008, the Japanese company, Takata produced at least 17 million airbags for millions of cars. In fact, Takata supplied 10 of the biggest car companies in the world, which made things even worse.

The problem with the airbags was that under specific circumstances like moisture or heat, they could suddenly deploy, causing a small explosion inside the car. Since the airbag is in a metal container, pieces could injure or even kill passengers when something like this happens. All 10 of the world’s biggest carmakers are working together to resolve the issue. However, experts say that over 30 million cars could be affected.

12. Volkswagen’s Dieselgate

In 2015, Volkswagen was the biggest car company in the world. Unfortunately, this position was severely shaken by the EPA’s legal action and alleged violation of the Clean Air Act. Apparently, Volkswagen was cheating on emissions testing by installing special software in its diesel cars on the North American market. The software was on when they tested the cars for emissions, but it then automatically shut off for normal use.

Volkswagen marketed their diesel cars as a cleaner alternative. However, they were polluting the environment more than regular gasoline-powered cars. The scandal became infamous as “Dieselgate,” causing dealerships to put “Stop Sale” signs on all Volkswagen diesel products. There were millions of angry buyers, resulting in a severe sales drop. Currently, the whole Dieselgate situation has cost Volkswagen close to $15 billion in the U.S. market alone.

Have you ever seen or owned any of the car industry’s biggest flops, scandals and mistakes? If so, you’re not alone. In fact, millions of car owners have fallen for these cars. The good news is, the car industry has grown and learned from their errors and misjudgments.

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