7. Audi 5000 Acceleration Problem
Today, Audi is one of the leading luxury brands in the American market. But in the late 1980’s, they were almost gone from U.S. shores due to rumors of unintended acceleration and numerous crashes. In 1986, the popular CBS TV news show, 60 Minutes, ran a feature about Audi’s unintended acceleration on the popular 5000 model. Viewers didn’t know someone had rigged the car.
In fact, the acceleration featured in the show wasn’t genuine. After they aired the show, the car community buzzed, damaging Audi’s reputation. Audi responded by publishing numerous tests and videos showing how the only way that could happen was if the driver’s foot slipped from the brake to the accelerator pedal. Still, it didn’t help their cause, so Audi 5000 sales hit rock bottom.
Although 60 Minutes published a false story and Audi later proved the 5000 didn’t have acceleration problems, it was too late. It took the company two decades to recover. It is still unclear why CBS aired the feature. Some people wonder if another rival car company was behind it.