By on June 13, 2008

jp008_002cp.jpgIt's been a bit over six months since you, our Best and Brightest, picked 2007's Ten Worst Automobiles. A lot's happened in the industry since then, not much of it good. SUVs are out and econoboxs are in, gas prices are insane and manufacturers are closing factories and realigning those left. To lighten the mood during these dark days, let's see how our biggest losers have fared amidst all this turmoil.

10. Saturn ION:  RIP

The lame duck ION waddles off the field of battle without achieving any glory whatsoever.

The last of the plastic-paneled Saturns (and some would say the last real Saturn) is dead, replaced by a more expensive badge-engineered Opel Astra. It could have been much more than it was. But it wasn't, so good riddance.

9.  Chrysler Aspen: Selling, but why?

A cynical repackaging of the Durango, complete with an arthritic suspension and interior appointments you're best advised not to keep.

Aspen's sales are, inexplicably, 12.4 percent higher so far this year than last. Maybe the cut-rate gas program is duping enticing people to sign-up for six years' payments on a vehicle they won't be able to afford to fuel after three. There's a HEMI-engined hybrid Aspen variant on its way, but they're still closing the plant in 2009. Good move.

8.  Chevy Trailblazer: Going, going, not gone 

Trabant-class fit and finish and Yugo-compatible interior design

Sales of this antediluvian artifact started dropping well before gas prices started climbing. However, with a 145-day supply on lots at the start of April, $4/gallon gas the norm and SUV sales lower than a politician's credibility, it may be a long time before they disappear, even after Bowtoy Boys pull the plug on production in 2010.

7.  HUMMER H2: on the chopping block

You might as well wear a freshly-bludgeoned baby seal as drive this big rig.

GM sold all of 375 humongous H2's in May. They'll be selling even fewer in the future– now that GM's decided to ditch the Antichrist of the eco-movement. Rumors that someone will buy the HUMMER brand in today's crowded, cratered SUV and off-road market are almost as ludicrous as the H2.

6.  HUMMER H3: following big brother's footsteps

Thirstier than Lindsay Lohan fresh out of rehab, slower than continental drift and rougher than Class VI rapids.

Even though the H3 doesn't get much worse mileage than other small SUVs, the HUMMER stigma alone is enough to cause buyers to shun it. It'll also be gone when they pull the plug on the HUMMER brand.

5.  Chevy Uplander: Gasping its last breath 

The only remnant of GM's po-faced assault on the minivan market can't hit the ash can of automotive history soon enough.

Chevy's pulled the plug and is closing the plant responsible for this automotive abortion. If you just have to have one of the worst minivans ever built, dealers still have about 2700 in inventory. And will for many months to come.

4.  Dodge Nitro:  Selling like ham at Hanukkah

A four-wheeled testament to Chrysler's brand mismanagement and thoroughly inept product development.

Buyers seem to agree with our assessment. Nitro sales are down 32.2 percent; Jeep dealers had a 110-day supply as of April 1. Chrysler co-president Jim Press said his employer's going to eliminate duplicate products to streamline their product line. Start here!

3.  Chevy Aveo:  Cheap sells, at least for now

GM can't build a decent small car in the U.S., perhaps they're trying to demonstrate that they can't build one in Korea either.

A rising tide lifts all boats; Chevy's craptastic captive Korean has caught a ride on the coat tails of the American revolution against SUVs and pickups. If you need proof that consumers are desperate to buy a fuel miser, any fuel miser (even a not-so-miserly miser), well, here it is.

2.  Chrysler Sebring:  A born rental car

Its cabin, handling, acceleration, and ride quality are to driving pleasure what hair shirts are to eczema sufferers.

This car has such a bad interior they started a special project to re-do it after just one year. Chrysler says they're cutting sales to fleets and rental companies and it shows: Sebring sales dropped almost 31 percent in May compared with last year.

1.  Jeep Compass: Wannabees never go far

Jeep's recipe for disaster: laughable aesthetics, second-rate road manners, poky performance and interior materials pulled from the bottom drawer of Chrysler's parts bin.

Sales of the Caliber-based anti-Jeep are trailing last year by 13.3 percent. What else would you expect for a vehicle that can't handle much more than a dirt road yet tries to pass itself off as a Jeep? A reader reports that a salesman said the Compass will die in 2009. Another excellent idea.

In a few months, we'll be soliciting nominees for the third annual Ten Worst Automobile awards, naming and shaming the most lamentable cars for sale as new in 2008. Will Compass, Aspen, Aveo, and H2 score a three-peat? Time– and TTAC's Best and Brightest– will tell. 

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45 Comments on “TTAC’s Ten Worst Automobile Award Winners: Midyear Update...”


  • avatar
    jwltch

    Trailblazer! ha ha!! Talk about a slow death. 7 years of production with no change. Okay..maybe a minor change. The Nitro…so Chrysler. Identical products…that aren’t selling…so let’s make more of the same with a different badge. The public won’t notice. The Sebring…I thought that car had potential. The Compass…so ugly I don’t know who thought it was a good idea to release it. At least the Patiot has some Jeep dna in it. And Hummer….I don’t even know what to say.

  • avatar
    AKM

    Did the comments in italics come from readers during the voting, or from TTAC editors? In any case, they’re still hilarious.

    Thanks for the read!

  • avatar

    The comments in italics come from the 2007 award announcement. The link in the first paragraph will take you to it.

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    Wow, none of them are selling well, except the two Chevys. Of course, six of them are SUVs, one is a discontinued Saturn, and the last is the Sebring. The Uplander sells well because it’s cheap and fleet buyers like cheap. The Aveo sells well because it’s small and cheap (it sells a lot to fleets (car rental agencies in particular) as well).

  • avatar
    HEATHROI

    I notice the focus which a lot of people denounced is doing quite well.
    It deserved another star simply because the Kia Rio got 2 and the focus is better than that.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    You would think they could have done a better job greenwashing Hummer. If they had started when they whining did, they could have out a really green one right now. They could have even made it a specialty vehicle that cost 200k if they wanted to. It would have worked.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    The new footage of blown-up Hummers all over Iraq did as much damage to that brand image as the rising price of gas.

    What some folks once saw as cool now makes the driver look like a sorry a$$ G.I. Joe wannabe!

  • avatar
    solo84

    where’s the Dodge Avenger on this list? is it a shoe-in with the stupid Sebring? both cars are disgusting.

  • avatar
    Juniper

    I disagree with the Hummer rating. FOR WHAT IT IS it is a good vehicle. Or is this a politically correct list? If you put the Hummer on here you also have to put the F150 and the Tundra. Plus I’ll take an Aveo over a Kia Rio.( or Kia anything for that matter)

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    Aveo, hmmm…down a few months and then bounces up.

    Anyone know supply?
    If it’s low the low months are probably supply related. If they had plenty earlier this year then May was “fleet special month” for the Aveo.
    I’ve noticed that nearly every month there is a GM back marker or two that has a “spectacular” month and then sinks back to oblivion.

    Gee…Frank remarked in “Mayday” about GM being tight lipped on fleet sales…wonder why…

    Overall it looks like TTAC B&B the diff between shinola and…

    Cheerio,

    Bunter

  • avatar
    Orian

    I’d take a Rio over an Aveo any day! Not only is the Rio a better car, the parent company (Hyundai) isn’t knocking on death’s door.

  • avatar
    Wulv

    I find it odd that around my parts, I keep seeing Jeep Compasses everywhere lately. When they first came out there was the one that I saw on a regular basis, in the last bunch of months I see them all over the place. They must have had a fire sale or something. Then again, I am in Canada, and for some reason unknown to me and many others, Chrysler products seem to be doing well here. At least I believe they did last year.

  • avatar
    c. eloi marx

    I disagree with the Hummer rating. FOR WHAT IT IS it is a good vehicle. Or is this a politically correct list? If you put the Hummer on here you also have to put the F150 and the Tundra.

    I would heartily disagree with your sentiment; the Hummer brand (and the H2 in particular) is the poster child for the “Urban Assault Vehicle” fad, and has no utility greater then most station waggons. If you strip away the sales and appeal of trucks to the Urban Cowboy set, as is happening, the F150 and Tundra are still competent work trucks.

    Hummer is the answer to the question no one asked. That’s why sales have tanked, that’s why GM is going to give them the ax.

  • avatar
    carm

    I wounder what all those dealers with the “H” shaped entrances are going to do now once Hummer is dead. Maybe repackage them as Hyundai dealerships!

  • avatar
    Mullholland

    You might as well wear a freshly-bludgeoned baby seal as drive this big rig.

    Frank. So much for making a fashion statement. Nice!

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    marx,

    Your assumption is incorrect. The Hummer is superior in many ways to the Tahoe on which it is based. That leaves your conclusion without much support. Perhaps you should try to reach the conclusion you desire with from a better approach.

  • avatar
    faster_than_rabbit

    Landcrusher, do tell. In what ways do you find the Hummer superior to the Tahoe?

  • avatar
    c. eloi marx

    Landcrusher,

    The H2 has the same tow rating (at 3720kg) as the Tahoe despite having a larger motor, and less cargo capacity (1707L v. 1492L with two rows of seating in place, both have 3 rows total). What metrics are you using to denote the H2′s superior utility.

  • avatar
    romanjetfighter

    Concerning the Chrysler Aspen’s sales increase, I don’t think it’s because of the gas rebate, since only 5-10% of people choose to take the gas rebate over the regular rebate.

  • avatar
    Cyril Sneer

    No matter what one may claim to buy the H2 for, there is not a single feature that is not bettered by other, less ridiculous vehicles. Except image, for those who desire the image a cheap (though not inexpensive), giant, cartoonish child’s toy provides.

    Worst. Vehicle. Ever.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Off road capability. Strangely, that’s what they advertise. I would say it has a nicer interior as well, but that is subjective.

    FURTHERMORE, I don’t care to have the whole argument about what they are ACTUALLY used for. I don’t care, and it doesn’t save your argument. Even the Tahoe has greater utility than “most station wagons”. You can easily get to your conclusion through a more defensible argument. If you want to make a point about the H2 and H3 being a bad idea, you can do it easily.

    So why do it so badly?

  • avatar
    factotum

    Funny. Do a search for “Hummer stuck” and you’ll see plenty of evidence of a lack of on- and off-road capability.

    Real Jeeps and Land Rovers are so much better than wide, heavy Hummers.

    Can’t wait for gawdodirt to chime in on this from the GM Proving Grounds in Mesa.

  • avatar
    Skooter

    “Land Rovers are so much better than wide, heavy Hummers”

    Now THAT is a comical ststement. Land Rover? JUNK!

  • avatar
    Cyril Sneer

    There are numerous vehicles that are more capable off-road than an H2.

    If that’s the only thing that the H2 can claim to be good at, then it’s stuck in the mud already.

  • avatar

    HEATHROI :
    June 13th, 2008 at 11:46 am

    I notice the focus which a lot of people denounced is doing quite well.
    It deserved another star simply because the Kia Rio got 2 and the focus is better than that.

    This will never happen. Farago ranked it at one star specifically because Ford built it instead of the Euro Focus. To quote his review:

    My biggest problem with the new Ford Focus isn’t the new Ford Focus. It’s the Mazda3. For a couple grand more than the box-fresh Ford, you get coherent exterior style, a classy cabin, an adult-compatible rear compartment, a better sounding powerplant, vastly superior handling, greater residuals and an engine bay without a trace of duct tape. Considering Ford’s relationship with Mazda and their long history of badge-engineering… Oh well. I guess Ford just couldn’t admit they’ve lost Focus.

    In other words, Farago’s comparing it to the Mazda3, and because it can’t step, it gets one star. Because the Mazda3 is what it could have been.

    I am in Canada, and for some reason unknown to me and many others, Chrysler products seem to be doing well here. At least I believe they did last year.

    Weird. I see tons of Chrysler products around Albuquerque too. On my trip to Texas, I think I saw at least three Dodge Avengers, more new Rams than I could count, a Patriot, and a few Calibers too. I have no idea why.

  • avatar
    AKM

    I disagree with the Hummer rating. FOR WHAT IT IS it is a good vehicle. Or is this a politically correct list? If you put the Hummer on here you also have to put the F150 and the Tundra.

    I would heartily disagree with your sentiment; the Hummer brand (and the H2 in particular) is the poster child for the “Urban Assault Vehicle” fad, and has no utility greater then most station waggons. If you strip away the sales and appeal of trucks to the Urban Cowboy set, as is happening, the F150 and Tundra are still competent work trucks.

    Hummer is the answer to the question no one asked. That’s why sales have tanked, that’s why GM is going to give them the ax.

    As much as I hate HUMMERS, the pproblem is not the vehicle per se, which is pretty good at what it does. It’s the owners/marketers.

    Example? A dealership had an ad campaign showing HUMMERs driving in a flood to rescue stranded people, with a tag line that said something like “Hummer owners help”, i.e. are good, model citizens who at the same time reach Chuck-Norris-Texas-Ranger heights of heroism.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIIISkU2_pI

    However, my wife, who works at the red cross, pointed out that those were red cross-spec hummers. She sees them all the time at her agency’s parking lot, and they’re here in case of disasters. So it’s really wasn’t an individual hummer owner who rescued people, like the ad implied, but an NGO vehicle instead…..

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Cyril,

    Right, either your the best, or you are “stuck in the mud”. So, what are you the best at?

    Seriously, Hummer Hate is understandable, but worse than the disease it seems to want to cure.

    One can easily make a reasoned, passionless critique of the H2 and H3, yet rarely does anyone do it. Even when they do, you can often just feel the hidden agenda seeping through the lines.

    Factotum,

    I guess Abrams tanks suck off road as well. I have seen plenty of them stuck myself. Hell, we even had special vehicles on hand just to recover them.

    Am I being overly sensitive to logical fallacies today? I need to stop posting.

  • avatar
    Cyril Sneer

    Yes, everyone else’s opinion is a ‘logical fallacy’ because you said so. Sorry to have insulted the H2.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Geez.

  • avatar
    detroit1701

    That darn Chevy Aveo. If only it had a decent powerplant!

    What is even more bizarre is that GM is starting to compete with itself in Europe.

    Chevy Aveo vs. Opel Corsa
    Chevy Optra vs. Opel Astra
    Chevy Nubira vs. Opel Insignia
    Chevy Captiva vs. Opel Antara (same car!)

    By “Chevy,” I mean Daewoo. The Opels are more upscale, but in the same class of vehicle.

    What is happening here? And then the Chevy USA is getting the new OPTRA to replace the Cobalt, and not an Astra-variant sedan?

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    detroit1701 :
    June 13th, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    What is happening here? And then the Chevy USA is getting the new OPTRA to replace the Cobalt, and not an Astra-variant sedan?

    It sort of looks like the Cobalt stays, but Chevy also gets the new Optra, which is just stupid.

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    AKM :
    June 13th, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    However, my wife, who works at the red cross, pointed out that those were red cross-spec hummers. She sees them all the time at her agency’s parking lot, and they’re here in case of disasters. So it’s really wasn’t an individual hummer owner who rescued people, like the ad implied, but an NGO vehicle instead…..

    Well, you could make the argument that the mere fact that the Red Cross chooses Hummers for their vehicles is testimony to how rugged they are. Mercedes is currently running ads for their SUVs using this theme (“You may not have to perform a mountain rescue, but we design our vehicles so you could”).

  • avatar
    Claude Dickson

    All these losers are from the 2.8: 4 Chryslers and 6 GM products. Any wonder why Ford is the best bet to survive of the three???

  • avatar

    Aspen sales are up because the Pacifica has been cancelled and the Commander is about to be. As a result, people who go to a Chrysler-Jeep store who need three rows but who won’t buy a minivan get shown the Aspen.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    The ten worst list is going to be more interesting this year because so many of the easy choices are dying off.

    On Hummers, the psychological point of those vehicles is for the driver/owner to display naked aggression to anyone who crosses their path. Gee, no wonder many people are turned off.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    Perhaps for next years TWATS, a new rule is needed? Cars that is predicted to be cancelled out of production (within the year) need not apply?

  • avatar
    jerry weber

    Could this be a rating game as to which domestic survives? GM 6, Chrysler 2, Ford 0, this being like golf, lower is better. So far GM is the only mfg. to lose an entire division of vehicles, but I believe names like dodge cars, and mercury cannot be too far behind.

  • avatar
    lprocter1982

    Is there going to be another round of the ten best cars? Or was that a 1 trick pony?

  • avatar

    lprocter1982 :

    Is there going to be another round of the ten best cars? Or was that a 1 trick pony?

    Ten Best on its way…

  • avatar
    raast

    On the subject of Hummers, and Youtube video…

  • avatar
    geggamoya

    “Land Rovers are so much better than wide, heavy Hummers”

    Now THAT is a comical ststement. Land Rover? JUNK!

    It’s nice to see that good manners and the level of knowledge on this site is as high as ever :)Selective quoting and well informed responses like that are always welcome and really add to the value of this site.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    I really like this feature, and i enjoyed giggling about it all over again. Thanks!

  • avatar
    Beelzebubba

    I think the Jeep Compass AND Patriot deserve to be on the list (even if they share an entry). Together, they represent the two most pathetic vehicles to ever wear the Jeep moniker. The Liberty was a little too ‘cutesy’ but at least it was RWD/4WD and acted like a Jeep when it counted. The Compatriot duo have bastardized the Jeep name.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Landcrusher said:
    I guess Abrams tanks suck off road as well. I have seen plenty of them stuck myself. Hell, we even had special vehicles on hand just to recover them.

    It’s all relative.

    Abrams are considered good tanks because it’s the best we have got. If it weren’t for the Japanese manufactures, GM Malibu would have been the best we have got.

    If tanks are in a mass market and there are open competitions, the Abrams will have the same fate as the GM cars. Reliable and fuel-efficient tanks from Japan would dominate.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    wsn,

    You completely missed the point. My comment was in response to a poster using photographic evidence of stuck Hummers as proof that they aren’t good off road.

    As for reliability and efficiency in tank designs, I have to say that they can be important, but are not nearly as important relatively as they are in cars.

    The WWII Tiger or Panther tank was much less reliable and efficient than the Sherman, but most Sherman crews would have gladly traded up. It was the guys with stars on their hats, and titles before their names that preferred the cheaper, more efficient, and reliable Sherman, along with higher casualties, to a design like the Tiger.

    If we were going to fight today, our leaders would go for the Abrams over a more efficient design because we have a greater abhorrence to casualties than we did in WWII. Also, we have recently proven that a column of our Abrams and Brads can slice through much greater numbers of inferior designs like they were butter. Gotta love that!


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