By on February 27, 2017

Oscar Oops

Last night, the Academy Awards officially let Steve Harvey off the hook. As the producers of La La Land were in the middle of their acceptance speech for Best Picture, event organizers rushed to let everyone know they had actually announced the wrong winner for the night’s biggest award. Oops.

There have been more than a few “oops” moments in the car biz, too.

Kia introduced the Borrego, an otherwise competent body-on-frame SUV, at the colossally wrong moment, landing with a thud at a time when gasoline was expensive and customers were shunning big cars. Tales of dealers hiding their allocation of Azteks in the far lot are not urban legends; I know for a fact this happened at a Pontiac store in my home province. And no one reading this site needs a history lesson on the Edsel.

The misstep of an entire model is an easy mark. Individual features aren’t immune to the Oops Factor, either. Witness the original iteration of MyFord Touch, riddled with bugs and response times which could’ve been measured with a calendar. Reports exist of early examples leaving Bill Ford stranded in an unfamiliar city, while far more entertaining is the story of an engineer receiving an email from a mechanic with a photo of a cracked infotainment screen … purportedly caused by an aggravated Mark Fields.

Mechanical innovations are not exempt from the Oops Factor. Twenty years ago, GM introduced Dex-Cool antifreeze, a coolant which was tinted like tasty Orange Crush to distinguish it from the industry-standard green hue. Dex-Cool was marketed as a long-life solution: no need to touch the stuff for five years or 150,000 miles. Over time – either through a design flaw or customers mixing Dex-Cool with traditional coolant – it tended to turn a muddy brown, clogging radiators and inhibiting, y’know, actual cooling, the sole job with which it was tasked.

Remarkably, not all miscues resulted in hits to the balance sheet. When Consumer Reports dumped the Civic from its Recommended list, Honda sat up and took notice, sending their compact sedan for a refresh just a single year into its redesign. Nevertheless, Honda went on to sell more Civics in 2012 – sans CR recommendation – than they had at any point in the previous four years.

I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my life, but I like to think I’ve learned from them. One can only hope the auto biz has as well. What’s your favorite moment of automotive schadenfreude?

Steve Harvey Oops

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110 Comments on “QOTD: What’s Your Favorite Automotive ‘Oops’ Moment?...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    ELR. WTF.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I bought a gently used 1981 Chevrolet Citation thinking it’d be a good car for my ex Wife…
    .
    I remember walking into the L.A.County Fair when the Aztek was just released ~ I told my Brother, who loved it that it was wretched and even stupid Americans who buy what they’re told to like, wouldn’t buy that pig .
    .
    -Nate

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    Oh me me! I’ve got five favorites.

    Chrysler TC by Maserati
    Cadillac Cimarron
    Olds V-8-6-4
    Cadillac Allante
    Cadillac Catera

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    Subaru B9 Tribeca

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Acura with the RLX Sport Hybrid.

    “Check out this 2014 RLX SH-AWD Sport Hybrid! Our new RLX is really, really a true sport sedan, we swear! It’s not just a FWD Lexus ES competitor! It’s really worth $10,000 more than the ES to start!”

    Two years later…

    “Well, we’ll trickle a few Sport Hybrids out late in the 2016 model year. Sorry for the vaporware.”

    Now it’s 2017 and there are 58 of them for sale in the entire country, and it’s not because they’re flying off the lots.

  • avatar
    ajla

    The Northstar’s head bolts.

  • avatar

    Lexus HS250h

  • avatar
    John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

    Lets revive the legendary GTO, guys. Make sure its RWD, packs a big V-8 and whatever you do, make damn sure it looks like a Grand Am coupe from 20 feet. We want people to walk right past this car, guys. If we sell 14, it’ll be too many.

    Fast forward a couple decades…

    Rinse and repeat with the Chevy SS. Make sure people think its an Impala with nice wheels, don’t give them any indication its a real RWD sports sedan worth the money. Hell, don’t even give it a real name.

    Lets see what the Ford camp could do.
    Lets take Buicks 3.8 and reverse engineer it. Then we will give it aluminum heads so people won’t know. Yes, of course it will self-destruct every 20-40k miles. That will really keep people out of the showroom. Lets get em so p¡§§ed that they’ll never buy a Ford again. GM does it regularly, lets do it too.

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Voyd

      Agreed, but to me, the (new) GTO most resembled a Cavalier or Sunbird coupe – not even a Grand Am.

    • 0 avatar
      dividebytube

      When the modern GTO came out, I excitedly pointed one out to a co-worker. He couldn’t see it in the sea of parked cars.

      And yes, if you have a muscle/sports car, it should stand out from the pack unless you are selling sleepers.

      • 0 avatar
        Land Ark

        Argh! Not this again. I know I shouldn’t let it get under my skin, but it does. And I’m not directing this specifically at you, most people seem to have the same opinion.

        So, it should stand out – like the original 10 GTO model years – which looked exactly like a Tempest from 20 feet away? Which looked similar to its Chevy, Buick, and Olds counterpart other than bumpers and grilles.

        It was never a Mustang or Camaro. It was an optioned out version of a standard car. It just so happened that the base model Monaro was never sold here.

        As for the SS – SS used to be a trim package, so the car didn’t look different from the standard fare other than the badges.

        Sometimes it seems like folks forget that the vast majority of cars sold in the 50s and 60s were boring and the only way you could tell a car was something special was because it was painted a bright color, made loud noises, or had different wheels.
        Most of the boring cars are gone so people only remember the special ones.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-Iron

      That Grand Am coupe, aka GTO, just killed me. Just like the freaking Catera. Under the sheets they are completely unrelated to the Michigan Chariot, but nobody who doesn’t already have a login on this website would be able to tell.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Audi B6/7 S4 V8 timing chain.

    “Ve ah so confident in ze chain, ve bury it neahr firewall”

    *100K miles later*

    Audizine.com S4 sticky thread- The Timing Chain DIY

    There’s pride, and then there’s stupidity. A timing chain you can’t access… I’ll let you decide which of the two that is.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    Although it wasn’t done by the auto industry, I nominate NBC, which got caught lying about exploding Chevrolet and GMC gas tanks.

  • avatar

    The Edsel. Launching an upmarket car in the middle of a recession. Using the name of Henry Ford’s son after spending a lot of money on a marketing firm to come up with a good name. (Even kids at Edsel Ford High School in Dearborn are embarrassed by the name–no, I’m just making that up!) Having Ford assembly lines assemble it apparently contributed to bad quality.

    Yet, as an oops moment, it ages well. They make cool t-shirts
    http://motorlegends.com/

    And they can be quite funny
    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/holzmans-treasures-the-barn-find/

  • avatar
    bluegoose

    GM’s heated windshield washer fluid disaster. https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/06/hot-shots-inside-gms-heated-windshield-washer-fire-fiasco/

  • avatar
    threeer

    The Pinto (and Ford’s subsequent valuation of human life vs design/build costs).

  • avatar
    legacygt

    When two manufacturers tweaked existing flawed vehicles and tried to pass them off in the newly developing, competitive, three-row CUV segment.

    Taurus X: The Freestyle was already a flop but somehow resurrecting the name of a popular mid-sized sedan and adding an X was supposed to fix things.

    Uplander/Relay/Teraza/Montana: The Venture was a failure and, giving up on minivans they changed the front end and tried to pretend it was a crossover or some sort. This was one of the worst cars sold at the time and I believe that this is probably the worst car ever to have 4 different variants. Amazing that between Chevy, Saturn, Buick and Pontiac, not one of those brands had the sense to say “no thank you.”

    • 0 avatar
      gomez

      The Buick version (called GL8 instead of Terraza) is still on sale in China as a “luxury van” and is one of their best sellers. They are everywhere over there.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Of the 8 minivans that I have owned the Montana SV6 was our favourite and one of the best dollar value vehicles I have ever had.

      When I sold it, prematurely as it turns out, my employer bought it from me for company use and it is still running with no unscheduled repairs other than tie rod replacement. And its paint and body still look like new.

  • avatar
    Sammy B

    For what it’s worth, a hit to the *income statement* is way worse than a hit to the *balance sheet*. May want to consider revising (pushes nerd glasses back up nose)

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      I think you have fake nerd glasses. Double entry accounting would involve a hit to both the balance sheet and the income statement. Perhaps you were trying to contrast a hit to operating earnings versus a non-cash hit to the balance sheet.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        Which of those would be an avoidable multi-million dollar cash payout? Chysler forgot to research the Viper name, and made Darrell Issa, owner of Viper Alarms, much richer.

        • 0 avatar
          Sammy B

          It would ultimately be both, but the one that likely hurts more is the income statement hit (in simplest terms, that’s the one measuring profit). That’s the only point I was making to not get into the accounting too much. For an article like this, it would be more appropriate to think in terms of profit hit. Things like inventory build hurt, yes, but taking losses on units you can’t move (or, to use a fun example, buying back Nissan vans to destroy because they catch fire) are more commonly thought of as P&L or income statement hits.

          Anyway..I didn’t realize that re: Viper alarms. I did always wonder how they were so close. Of course there was a payoff!

  • avatar
    jack4x

    I have personally benefitted most from Dodge/SRT/FCA deciding that a nicer interior, some electronics, and an additional 40 hp made the 2013 Viper from an $80k car (the 2010 model) into a $140k car. That hubris, along with horrible marketing, greedy dealers looking for ADMs even above that inflated sticker, and better competition than ever before, left a ton of those 2013-14s languishing in showrooms for years. Hence me being able to pick up a new 2013 at the end of the 2015 driving season for less than what the car should have cost in the first place.

    It’s a shame really because the car itself is spectacular, but lots of people wrote it off when they saw the price competing with the special edition 911s or gently used Mclarens. Only now with the ACR and imminent end of production is the respect coming back.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    Ford in 95 introducing the 96 Taurus. During the test drives every ragmag lost their collective minds..How Taurus would once again redefine the category with class leading HP, MPG, space etc. How it was suppose to be just a larger more refined Contour.
    Forward 6 months and the same mags were saying how the one that was pushed out for sale was slower, louder, less MPG and even less room on the inside than the ones they tested months earlier. ALso it drove worse, handled worse.
    And we all know what happened after that. IT SOLD ALOT WORSE>

    • 0 avatar
      gomez

      But…it has OVALS!!

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I was thinking about making a comment about the late 1996/1997 Tauruses.

      If you were lucky enough to drive a first-run 1996 LX, it really was the best car in the class at the time. Then Ford cost-cut almost all the goodness out of it.

      • 0 avatar
        Chocolatedeath

        dal: the impression that I got from all the mags was that it was actually better in pre-production than it was for sale.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Certainly possible, but the early ’96 production cars were definitely better than the late ’96 and ’97 cars.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Well, the previous Camry (the 1990-1994 V30) was probably the best-built Camry ever in terms of materials quality and similarity to contemporary Lexus. In fact, the coupe version of that Camry looked not unlike a coupe version, to my eyes. At that time, the Taurus’ sales had started to slow conceivably because the Taurus had been decontented significantly versus the successful first-gen.

            Ford’s response was to up the quality of the ’96 cars tremendously…at the same time that Toyota cost-cut the Camry, which continued to sell at or above previous levels. Ford figured it would do the same, and responded by cost-cutting the sh*t out of the ’97 and later ones…and the Taurus nameplate still hasn’t recovered.

  • avatar
    Ermel

    Opel Rekord “B”: Slight redesign of Rekord “A” body with a complete mechanical overhaul underneath (new engines, no more leaf springs, etc). Replaced a year later with mechanically identical but stylish Rekord “C”, only to infuriate all the “B” buyers who had a state-of-the-art car that suddenly looked really old.

    Quite similar actually: Ford P7, all-new model with slightly unfortunate design replaced by the extensively re-styled P7b a year later, with the same result on P7 ownership.

    And more recently, Volkswagen Scirocco III, quite expensive hatch-coupé that somehow lacked, you know, style, and hence flopped quite dramatically. Guess the slot between hot Golfs and entry-level TTs wasn’t all that big after all.

    But of course, the one oops moment to end all oops moments was the Mercedes A-class elk test rollover.

  • avatar
    wally109

    GM; “Our company is soooo toxic…we’re going to start a whole new company. A different kind of company! Then we’ll build a different car, better yet.. A different KIND of car!”.

    Because Efff trying to fix the cluster fudge company you already had!

    For real fun compare a 91 saturn S-series to a 91 Chevy cavalier…. If you can still find an early 90s crapalier in one piece.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      The first Saturns were well-executed and definitely GM’s best bet at competitive cars at the time—other than, you know, outright rebadging Toyotas and selling them under the GEO brand, which they also did—however, they were still behind the times and the truth is that GM would have been better served using that money to fix its existing divisions.

      It didn’t help that the first iteration of Saturn’s “Different Kind of Car” looked profoundly like the W-body Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme in sedan form.

      • 0 avatar

        The real problem is that Saturn then picked from the Opel side, not improving on the first gen. I had two friends buy the first gen, one the base four door and one the SL2 two door. When those cars wore out there weren’t new ones of the same or slightly uprated…they’d gone to Opels and one four door that should have stayed in the ‘styling’ studio.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          The background on Saturn is a long story, but in a nutshell it’s chief patron was Roger Smith who was put into forced retirement in 1990 just as it launched and GM nearly went bankrupt in 1992 under Stemple, a Smith protégé (who he himself was forced out that same year).

          While Saturn was initially successful it required further financial support to grow which was not forthcoming. Internally, the GM board did not believe in Smith’s vision and effectively the division was quietly killed in the late 90s which is why the 3rd gen Z-body is so similar to the second, and why Opels and other generic GM began to appear around 2000.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Smith_(executive)
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Stempel

  • avatar
    Rick T.

    For those of you interested, the story behind the Oscar vote counting:

    http://www.journalofaccountancy.com/news/2016/feb/who-counts-oscar-votes.html

  • avatar
    Mn12Fanatic

    Dodge Discontinuing the Magnum.

    GM ruining Saturn by eliminating all original designs and re-badging Opel garbage like they started doing with Chevy/Buick cars. The original saturns would have been an excellent car during the recession if it was updated a few times, but instead they killed the S series and brought out the L that used the Catera V6 or the early iteration of the ecotec; both of which were disasters. The Ion was a sporty car with an available 4 door coupe, but it was a bean counted mess and had the ecotec. The original saturn engines weren’t the most tolerating of bad maintenance practices but the car was cheap and ran forever. It is pretty common (relatively) to see an S series with 300k+ and the shiny mostly plastic body looking fantastic. However, GM decided it was too fuel efficient and didn’t want its companies having unique designs…

  • avatar
    gomez

    The Smart ForTwo, Fiat 500L, Nissan Murano Convertible, and Mitsubishi i-MieV all come to mind. Anyone with half a brain could take one look at those vehicles and instantly know that they would bomb in the marketplace. As far as oops features, the Model X gullwing doors come to mind as the answer to a question no one asked and will eventually become a warranty repair nightmare.

    • 0 avatar
      Mn12Fanatic

      I agree. Car manufacturers need to stop releasing tweaked cars for multiple badges so that they compete against each other. Fiat should sell just the 500 & the 124, and maybe add their European/South American products to their US line like the Punto, Tipo, and Fullback. Dodge doesn’t have a small pickup so a little 4 door city truck make sense. Dodge also doesn’t have a decent hatchback so the Tipo makes sense (sorry the Journey is trash).

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    A minor oops – The 90s GM LT1 engines were nice for the era but the decision to put the Optispark (aka Opticrap) behind the water pump is a puzzling one.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Back in late 90s, all the auto mags were trumpeting (recycled DC AG press releases) how the Chrysler 2.7 LH V6 had gone from the “first keystroke on the CAD system to full production” in 18 months.

    Leading some Chrysler powertrain guys on a tour of our supplier facility, I queried them on how that worked out. They just shook their heads and groaned.

    • 0 avatar
      pdieten

      * triggering intensifies *

      The 90K mile timing chain tensioner failure on my ’00 Intrepid in 2005 was the most expensive automotive breakdown I’ve ever experienced, because that car wasn’t paid for yet.

      It was supposed to go to the shop for the clicking two days before it slipped & bent all 24 valves.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named

  • avatar
    prisoners

    Pontiac choosing to develop the Fiero instead of a minivan. (yeah I know…but it saved Chrysler from going under). By the time GM got the Fiero right it was too late; the stench of burned 4 cylinder engines kept everyone away.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    1984: Pontiac releases nifty 2-seater mid-engined coupe. GM says, “use the suspension from the Chevette.”

    1988: Pontiac gives the Fiero the excellent suspension it was supposed to have in the first place. GM says “kill it.”

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Did the same thing to the Corvair decades earlier. A GM engineer patented a nifty IRS that would have been perfect for it, but the bean counters nixed it and then Ralph Nader happened. They did use it in the 2nd gen ‘vair, too late.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Honda CRZ – an in between car that does nothing particularly well. An insult to the original CRX and its loyal fan base.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    I have 2 votes, one Volvo for their lifetime fill with their tranny fluid on 01-02 xc wagons, no need to replace fluid ever, WTF and secondly the whole auto industry for shoving poor tech into cars, maybe I gotta give FCA a pass because Connect seems to be the best there is but cmon just farm it out to tech companies and let them do it right instead of what 95% of cars have in them for info centers.

  • avatar
    The_Imperialist

    Aston Martin Cygnet. And for what it’s worth, La La Land won the popular vote.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      Wouldn’t surprise me at all if that was true. The Oscars were accused in the past of being “too white”, so they wanted to throw Best Picture instead to a movie about a black homosexual to change their image. Worked as well for them as it did for the Democratic Party.

  • avatar
    bluegoose

    The 2005 Subaru B9 Tribeca. https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2005/08/subaru-b9-tribeca/

  • avatar
    tylanner

    The mass produced rotary engine was a pretty big mess…let’s be honest…it had very little going for it outside of its novelty and Le Mans.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Yeah what was with all the Cadillac commercials during the Oscars featuring the Escala, a car which they warned you in screen crawl they weren’t going to build? Thanks for reminding us how sucky your current vehicles look next to the stunning concept.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Kia K9000: 60k Kia. Uhm. No.

  • avatar
    jhefner

    Since the ’96 Taurus redesign was already brought up, how about:

    The entire Merkur division, which was intended to sell federalized Ford Sierras and Scorpios in competition with BMW and Mercedes. But like the GTO, buyers could not understand why they would want to pay more for a funny looking Taurus, so few sold.

    Ford Contour/Mercury Mystique. Ford spent US$6 billion to develop a world car in the form of the Ford Mondeo; but that was not good enough for Ford North America, they had to redesign it again into Ford Contour/Mercury Mystique to replace the Topaz/Tempo. But the end result came out as a mid-size car like the Taurus with a much smaller back seat; so few were sold.

    (What is funny is seeing models of the Mondeo still left on e-bay being sold as Ford Contours.)

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Or even now, ten years after Ford *stopped* using the Zephyr nameplate and went to MKZ, the MKZ is still categorized as the “MKZ / Zephyr” on eBay. To wit:

      http://www.ebay.com/itm/2013-Lincoln-MKZ-Zephyr-Base-Sedan-4-Door-/401281735045?forcerrptr=true&hash=item5d6e415985:g:pT8AAOSwr~lYsN3g&item=401281735045

  • avatar
    mshenzi

    Lincoln Blackwood and Mark LT

  • avatar
    ect

    Pontiac Firenza – seldom has any car acquired a terrible reputation in so short a time. And so deserved it.

    Chevy Vega – rusted out while you looked at, and featured an engine with an aluminum block and cast-iron head. Nobody had built an engine like this before. Apparently, for a reason…

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    My favorite oops moment: the 2014 Lincoln MKS w/ Elite package that I bought this past weekend for less than half of the price as new. That entire car was an oops moment. I’ve made fun of it in the past, and it drives like a boat, but I really like it. It’s a profound departure from the Golf SportWagen, but like I said, my taste tends to be all over the place.

    Other oops moments:

    – GM killing off the EV1, but forging ahead with Hummer. Although it did provide insane profits for a little while, and even now (despite the stigma), Hummers go for more than you’d think on the used market.

    – The Chrysler 2.7-liter V6 (what a dog).

    – Acura’s beak grille, which has terrorized us since 2009 with the TL and is only just now being phased out with the 2017 MDX.

    – The Five Hundred (it’s nicer than your “300”, you know), Montego and Freestyle, which were hastily refreshed and renamed as the Taurus, Sable and Taurus X, respectively.

    – VW admitting it should not have cost cut the sh*t out of the Jetta and Passat, and upgrading them accordingly for 2014 and 2016, respectively.

    – The Bentley Arnage “Green Label”. During the days of Bentley / Rolls-Royce’s sisterhood with one another and their joint ownership by both BMW and Rolls-Royce, Bentley split its Arnage line into the “Red Label”, which continued using the heritage 6.75-liter L-Series V8 and the “Green Label”, which had a 4.4-liter BMW V8. Although the BMW unit made, by all measures, a better car (faster, less weight, better performance), customers responded poorly to the Green Label and it was axed about as soon as VW took complete ownership of the Bentley brand and the Crewe facility. And the 6.75-liter was reinstated as the sole option for the big Bentleys. It is used, to this day, in the Mulsanne.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      My favorite oops moment: the 2014 Lincoln MKS w/ Elite package that I bought this past weekend for less than half of the price as new.

      I don’t know about you but slipping behind the wheel of something like that actually changes the way I drive. Suddenly I’m relaxed, courteous, I observe textbook following distances…

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “the 2014 Lincoln MKS w/ Elite package that I bought this past weekend for less than half of the price as new.”

      Cool, new commenter car. And it is a TTAC approved used Lincoln.

      • 0 avatar
        Halftruth

        Give us a report on the Linc. I have always had an eye for those.
        Regarding the 2.7 V6, I am a fan. I know of three in my circle that have well gone over 100k (one now 130+) and hardly a problem. Power is decent but hardly a dog. Give it some love.. C’mon man

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      My buddy’s 21-year-old hipster son has been driving Granny’s hand-me-down 1997 Avalon, now well past 250k miles. He was offered Grandpa’s 2012 MKS 26k miles with all the bells and whistles this weekend for free. No thanks.

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      Funny thing is that I look back at those 09 TL’s and like them now…who knew.

    • 0 avatar
      AVT

      I approve of the used mks. You know what’s even better though, an MKT. Dealers almost beg you to buy them given how no one wants them because they apparently look horrible. But given the low purchase price of a used model with all the features (it’s and ecoboost) I can live with that. And the warranty for pre owned models is pretty decent as well.

  • avatar
    vaujot

    Someone at VW thinking it would be a good idea to use a defeat device for emissions control. Well, perhaps that’s more than an Oops.
    A while ago this site showed a video of a Volvo running over a dummy when they were demonstrating autonumous braking to the press.

  • avatar
    Rick Astley

    Daytime running lights with digital display dashboards that are always backlit.

    Now 80% of drivers can drive at night or in Inclement weather without their headlights on. Safety for everybody!!!

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      Maybe it’s because DRLs have been mandated here since 1990, but I find it genuinely weird to see a car driving around with literally no lights on, like someone forgot to set the parking brake or something and it’s a runaway.

      Also, people are pretty good about putting their headlights on – they’re both noticeably brighter, and not like you can see the gauges with them off (of course, the ubiquitous late-model Civic with digital gauges is the exception to this rule).

    • 0 avatar
      Paragon

      Yes, I consider those vehicles to be “suicide machines.”
      For a number of years I’ve seen at least one or more every night. Nine or ten at night and people driving with NO HEADLIGHTS OR TAILLIGHTS!! It’s a daily WTF moment. People don’t seem to understand that you have to turn on your lights at night every day, er night. I’m amazed that more of those cars aren’t either rear-ended by another crazy fast driver, or run over by a semi truck. I swear it drives me crazy almost every night. Or, it’s rainy, foggy or snowing, and even in a blizzard you will find more than one vehicle with absolutely no lights on. Talking about during the day when you don’t see them until you almost run into them (because you couldn’t see them until you almost hit them). Honestly, it makes me question the IQ of people, and makes me wonder if they should have a drivers license.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Agree, at least one car per night on my commute with their ‘running lights’ on but therefore no headlights or tailights.

        Why can’t other companies get it right like GM did years ago and just install an ‘automatic’ option?

        As for oops……… Aston Martin Lagonda. Nothing else like it.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    Regarding Dexcool, wasn’t the issue that over time it reacted with the plastic head gaskets GM started using in the late 90s and cause them to dissolve? Double OOPS!

    And of course, naming the Chevy Nova (“Doesn’t Go” in Spanish).

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Chrysler Sebring/200 – both generations.
    Dodge Dart
    Super-sized exterior/Pinto-sized interior latest Ford Taurus.
    Scion – all of them after the original Xb.
    Honda CR-Z & Crosstour.
    Nissan Juke, Versa.

    Probably others, but it’s getting late.

  • avatar
    Wade.Moeller

    Ford letting their bean counters choose coolant.

    Ford didn’t design their own diesels, they let International do that dirty work. And International did a good job with the IDI and then continued to do so with the Powerstrokes.

    But when it came time to start using the 6.0 Powerstroke, the beancounters decided they didn’t want to stock two different coolants. So they went against International’s advice and used the same coolant they always have. Diesels run hot and there were 2 extra coolers, one for oil and the other for exhaust gases in the EGR system. So the sulfites in the standard Ford coolant started to sludge up the system. It was bad enough when it would blow open the passages in the oil/coolant intercooler. That would let the oil and coolant mix and that isn’t good for the engine. It would also clog up the EGR cooler and when that blew, it would dump coolant into the intake, which would hydrolock the engine and stretch/break the head bolts.

    Meanwhile, the same engine installed in International trucks runs like a diesel should, forever. Because International uses the right coolant.

    And Fords with the 6.0 Powerstroke get avoided. Because the beancounters were cheap.

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    I did extensive research into the Dexcool antifreeze “problem”. Most of the troubles were found in the 4.8L V6 which was the small block V8 with 2 fewer cylinders. This was a cast iron engine with a, AFAIK, cooling system unique to GM in that the pressure cap was open to the coolant recovery tank until the engine warmed up and some pressure built up. Then the cap was supposed to seal. If the coolant was not kept above the proper level in the recovery tank air would get in leading to corrosion. Iron oxide would then foul the pressure cap preventing it from sealing. Then coolant would overflow and be lost when the engine got hot. Very low coolant often caused engine damage.
    I read a GM service bulletin on how to fix neglected, corroded systems. It was rather extensive in the required actions to clean the system and could require a new radiator, hoses, etc to restore proper function.
    Not surprising to me if the hood is not opened for years.
    I have used Dexcool in many engines for more than 20 years and have not seen any “jelling” or other problems attributed to the coolant. Also “Long Life Coolant/Antifreeze” does not mean forever.
    Also the gasket failures on engines were/are due to poor design, wrong materials, overheating and so on. Most V engines have a coolant crossover between the cyl heads through the intake manifold. Most of the gaskets had built in O-rings to seal that passage. Over time the O-rings would fail. Then coolant would leak to outside or to an intake port filling the cylinders with coolant.
    That windshield washer heater sounds like trouble just waiting to happen. Unless there is some major mistake with design or wire size seems like overheat and fire would be likely with no washer fluid. The heater should have a shut off to prevent this.
    BTW how could the customer or technician “not understanding the heater system” lead to it shorting out? Do they have mental control of electricity?

  • avatar
    Eyeflyistheeye

    The Pontiac G8. Obviously not a bad car at all, but bad luck on GM’s part. After 13 years of GM North America considering bringing the Holden Commodore over as a Buick and then as an entry-level Cadillac that internal politics decided would be sourced from Opel instead (because German) and gave us the infamous Catera, we got it in time for the financial collapse and the discontinuation of Pontiac the year after. Instead of rebadging it and giving it to Chevy or Buick immediately, it comes back four years later as the Chevrolet SS without the “sweet spot” midrange V8 model effectively dooming its future through being priced out of the range of its target audience. One wonders the future for Holden if GM would have just kept the G8 alive as a Chevrolet or Buick after Chapter 11 with the range of V6, midrange V8 and hi-po V8.

    • 0 avatar
      cognoscenti

      THIS. All they had to do was rebadge it as a Chevy Caprice, and keep SS as a trim level for the V8. Anyone wondering about this, just go look at 4th Gen car from 1995 or 1996 (technically an Impala SS at the time) if you forgot that there is a market for such a car!

  • avatar
    WallMeerkat

    For all the battering European captive imports sold in the US are getting:
    – Vauxhall-Opel Omega / Cadillac Catera
    – Ford Sierra XR4i and Granada/Scorpio / Merkur XR4Ti and Scorpio
    – Ford Mondeo / Ford Contour

    Let’s have a laugh at some of the US imports sold in Europe
    – Vauxhall / Opel Sintra. Rewind to the 1990s, before everyone absolutely positively had to drive an SUV, minivans aka people carriers aka MPVs were briefly popular. GM Europe realised they didn’t have one. No problem – they’ll import one! What they imported was a rebadged Chevrolet Venture / Pontiac Montana, a horrendous unreliable lemon that was too big for European tastes, and some shocking crash results (a steering wheel which broke off!!!). It was axed after 3 years, replaced with the slightly smaller Astra based Zafira which was more to European tastes.
    – Cadillac Seville. Admittedly not a bad car as such, however trying to launch an executive car in Europe in the late 90s with just a single V8 engine and autobox was never going to work.
    – Cadillac BLS. Technically not an import, but the failed 2nd attempt at launching Cadillac in Europe. US readers may not recognise this. In the US they were selling rebadged Subarus and Chevrolets as Saabs, well in Europe they rebadged the Saab 93 as a Cadillac. You may remember it from it’s brief appearance on the “drive time radio” segment of Top Gear in which the presenters mocked it’s Saab origins.

    And back to Europe:
    – Ford Scorpio. This was the European equivalent of the 1996 Taurus. The mainstream executive class was struggling with competition from proper executive cars. Ford’s solution was to take their handsome, if bland, Granada/Scorpio sedan and graft ovals onto it, with a US style rear full length light. The front end combined big googly headlights with a huge oval grille, which was too much for this traditional segment of the market who flocked to the Omega (Catera) or German brands. Ford axed the model and directed potential customers to Jaguar.
    – Rover K series. Admittedly a good little engine, however it had a flaw in that it was prone to blowing head gaskets. Later rectified by Land Rover and MG with stronger gaskets.
    – Rover 75 ‘speech’. 1998 UK motor show, two ‘retro styled’ British sedans are to be shown – the Jaguar S type and the Rover 75. Of the two, the 75 was arguably the better styled, classic lines which were less jarring than the oval grille of the S type. It was all looking well for the plucky British company, which had been scooped up by BMW 4 years earlier and was displaying the first fruits of this parentage.
    However all was ruined by a strange speech by Bernd Pischetsrieder, boss of BMW, who questioned the long term viability of Rover. History would prove this right, though how much was hastened by lack of confidence caused by this speech is arguable. BMW kept the crown jewel of the Mini – launching it as an entire brand. China’s SAIC picked over the remains, launching MG – the Rover brand reverted to Land Rover’s owners, Ford and later Tata.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    Isuzu had what was called at one time the Lexus of SUV’s in the Trooper and they for some reason forgot to update it with any substance. WEll you know the rest.

  • avatar
    raph

    When Pericak said the S550 Mustang would be lighter than the S-197 Mustang then had to back track and say “we’ve met our weight targets”.

    The Mustang community had a fit when the official curb weight came out. GM loyalist had a field day with it.

    I’d like to know the real story since a guy over at GMInsider swore Ford wanted a Lincoln coupe and ordered more NVH refinement.

  • avatar
    cft925

    Since someone mentioned the Chevy “doesn’t go” (I called it the Toylet), I would be remiss if I failed to mention the Buick LaCrosse. It was named the Allure in Canada because LaCrosse is apparently French Canadian slang for umm… self-abuse.

  • avatar
    EquipmentJunkie

    Infinity’s brand launch advertising campaign. The Infinity brand has had difficulties ever since.

    VW’s TDI fiasco. Not only did VW step in a large, fresh pile, it appears like the corporation was wearing deep-treaded hiking boots and walked all over headquarters spreading the stench.

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