By on August 7, 2019

Automakers are keen to pursue partnerships with one another when it means saving money via economies of scale, or when it supports an established corporate structure. Whether it’s in the form of some basic components-sharing or a more intensive joint venture, today we want to hear about the worst possible examples of automotive cooperation.

Today’s question was a suggestion from commenter ToolGuy a few weeks back on the QOTD post about awful Nineties design from Asia. He wanted to discuss the good and bad outcomes of joint ventures. We’re opening the field up to general cooperation as well, discussing the worst ones first (per standard operating procedure).

Warning, a piece of poo incoming:

The Jaguar X-Type was a great example of automaker collaboration gone horribly wrong. As a key eventual component of the Premier Automotive Group, Jaguar was subject to the whims of Ford between 1989 and 2008. Some of Ford’s orders were most beneficial to Jaguar: Vastly improved quality control and dollars invested in updated manufacturing processes. The flagship XJ in particular reaped the benefits of Ford’s ownership.

At the other end of the spectrum was the X-Type.

Circa 2000, Jaguar had an entry-level sedan-shaped hole in its lineup when compared to most every other European automaker. Ford saw an opportunity in the Mondeo, which was already popular and selling well across Europe. “Go,” Ford said, “and make this a very luxurious compact for not much money.” Jaguar was forced to comply. The X-Type went on sale for model year 2001, a year after its brother’s third-gen arrival across Europe.

Though it was successful from a sales perspective when compared to more expensive Jaguar offerings, it never met the projected figure of 100,000 sales per year. Instead, it achieved around 350,000 sales total in its run through the 2009 model year. The X-Type’s interior had an air of imitation luxury, which paired nicely with reliability issues. Engine problems, transmission failures, fluid leaks, overheating — oh my! An okay Ford ended up a fairly bad Jaguar, harming the brand’s reputation as X-Types littered BHPH lots within three or four years from new.

Off to you in the comments; let’s hear about the worst in cooperative efforts.

[Images: GM, Jaguar]

 

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

139 Comments on “QOTD: The Worst Examples of Automotive Cooperation?...”


  • avatar

    Chrysler TC by Maserati. I see one at a local car show. The juxtaposition of K car climate control (with extra bling !) and probably the nicest leather ever in a K car is jarring. Car and Driver called it the product of too many wine soaked lunches between company execs.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      ^^This was the very first “marriage made in hell” I thought of

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        Oh, no – the MMIH goes way back. My aunt had a little 2-seater Nash Metropolitan. That car was made, not by Nash or AMC, but by a British company, and imported, with a farm tractor engine that was nothing but trouble. That was the late 1950s, long before the Chrysler-Maserati mess.

        Long before even that, in the 1930s, American Bantam had a deal with a British maker to make incredibly small cars for the American market. That, at least, led to the first Jeep.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          BTW – American Bantam’s 1939 60-series roadster design was used by Disney for Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck cartoons. I haven’t found any evidence Disney ever paid for using the design.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            If you’ve bever seen a model 60 roadster, here’s one:

            https://www.conceptcarz.com/view/photo/694151,14567/1938-american-bantam-series-60_photo.aspx

            Just imagine Mickey or Donald behind the wheel.

    • 0 avatar
      onyxtape

      When I was very young and starting my first internship, I made the mistake of pointing out to the HR lady that her car was really a LeBaron.

  • avatar

    Great example. And it only happened because Iacocca was a close personal friend of De Tomaso.

    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2017/11/rare-rides-a-1989-chrysler-tc-by-maserati-the-lemon-mixup/

  • avatar
    jack4x

    The Aston Martin Cygnet.

    Please look it up if you haven’t heard of it, I hardly believed it wasn’t an April Fool’s joke the first time I saw it.

    Most ill fated tieups, I can at least understand the reasoning behind, this one is such a deliberate self sabotage of the brand that I can’t even imagine what they were thinking. The only saving grace is it’s obscure enough that most Aston customers probably have never heard of it.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Screw it. I’m buying an X-Type.
    The Contour was good, the Jaguar styling touches were good. I like the car, might as well dive in.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Run.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        jlinnmotors.net/2007_Jaguar_XType_
        Clearwater_FL_31558876.veh

        What’s my offer on it?

        • 0 avatar

          Cloudy lamps
          Dishwater blue
          Not a VDP
          No navigation

          $3950

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Offer the asking price, with the proviso that in a month, after it breaks down for the tenth time, you have the right to to the dealer, burn it ritually, and get a 90% refund.

          • 0 avatar

            Can’t speak as to the Jag aspect, but my Mercury Mystique had a 120k service life, was actually fun to drive (6-manual) till then, I put SVT shocks on it….

            But post 120k, the bean counters’ work was clear, and the X type had a LOT of common parts.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I’d say initially its worth 2K. Let’s go to the tape:

          8/6/19$1,00081,940- -6G/AGrayRegularNortheastBaltimore-Washington
          7/18/19$2,00091,787- -6G/- -BlackRegularSoutheastPalm Beach
          7/23/19$1,40096,6202.86G/ASilverRegularNortheastNY Metro Skyline
          7/24/19$1,10097,9902.26G/AGrayRegularWest CoastSan Francisco Bay
          7/9/19$750100,8622.96G/AWhiteLeaseWest CoastRiverside
          6/27/19$1,700135,425- -6G/- -GrayRegularMidwestChicago

          So I was off, $1-1,200. Offer 2K, 2,500 is generous.

          $5,495? He should be in jail.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “Offer 2K, 2,500 is generous.”

            Thanks.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @ajla

            Those things are known to be trouble by nearly everyone at this point. I feel like a post Nikasil X308 or even a S-type might be better (for some reason S-type did not experience as many issues as did Lincoln LS, or at least not as many were reported).

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            I sent an S-Type to the junkyard two years ago because one side of the front suspension had failed while it was sitting in a garage between annual inspections. No thanks.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      With the 3.0 sport trim and the manual it’s not a bad deal.
      The 3.0 wagon, auto only here in the states is a nice alternative to the usual Subaru when you show up at your local garden supply.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Agreed, the X-types were tasty-looking, particularly the wagon. Unfortunately, they were dog excrement.

        • 0 avatar
          theflyersfan

          FreedMike – funny you say that…just saw a decent looking X-Type wagon on the roads no more than 24 hours ago. You can tell it is loved – excellent paint, working lights (rare!), and well, it still ran!

          X-Type – good idea, OK execution, wretched quality. The styling grew on me – the only hang-up I have is trying to cram too many Jaguar design cues into a small package. That and the grossly inefficient use of space (back seat and trunk especially.) Now that the Europeans really want to take over the premium small car market, Jaguar might want to revisit this segment again with something smaller than the XE.

    • 0 avatar
      JoeBrick

      Years ago, a friend of mine was contemplating buying a used Jaguar XJ-S. I told him that repairs and parts were expensive, but we both were making decent money at the time, so he went ahead with the purchase. It was maybe 10 or 12 K under book value, and he thought he would be OK. After a year and a half he had spent over $15,000 on repairs, and it was still a POS. He finally got disgusted and traded it in for a new Lincoln Mark VIII, getting a very low amount for trade-in value. As he was leaving, a salesman came running up to him and said “Sir, we can’t seem to get your car started.”. My friend just said “That is YOUR car now.”, and drove off.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Not sure why there is so much lack of respect for the Mondeo on this side of the pond. In the UK it was considered a good, large car. Clarkson repeatedly stated that he preferred it to the BMW 3 series.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        For a compact Ford sedan that replaced the coal-cart Tempo, it was very expensive with a cramped back seat. It arrived right around when the Chrysler JX Cloud cars did, which possessed far better packaging, seating comfort, ride and handling. The Contour did have much better engines, as odd as that sounds when comparing a Ford to a Chrysler. I spent a big part of the ’90s driving rental cars, and the Contour 4cylinder/automatic was a great one if you had no passengers.

        OTOH, I remember test driving a new five-speed Contour in 1995 when a friend had wrecked his Integra and we went to the dealer in my TMS-suspended BMW. It didn’t drive like something with the slightest enthusiast appeal. The US ones were also of comedically bad quality compared to the Japanese competitors. Perhaps it was the US assembled ones, or perhaps its just that Europeans are accustomed to a diet of filler. Jeremy Clarkson is just an entertainer, if you’re into that kind of thing.

      • 0 avatar

        Maybe if you compared a euro build top shelf Mondeo to a base BMW. Here in the us of a, we never got a top shelf Mondeo…Ford made some noise about a BMW competitor but then de-contented the car throughout it’s life…forums were all about doing things like restoring heated mirrors, etc. The Mondeo/Contour competed with the Tempo, which, while a total and utter trash heap, was bigger, and would price out lower. My purchase was marked by a salesman who had zero interest in my desire for a manual six….but I’m glad I stuck it out, as the automatics in this car died very young. My next car was an e46 so I can compare…the Mystique was designed by guys who drove a BMW, but in no way was it a competitor.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I’ll go with the Sterling 825. Ruining a great car like the Acura Legend is no easy task, but Rover stepped right up and got the job done.

    • 0 avatar

      Good one. I’ve picked on Honda and Rover too recently so I didn’t want to go there again.

    • 0 avatar

      Saw one once. The Honda engine, where the electrics merge into the Sterling electrics….tells you all you need to know. Kinda like a McMansion in the ‘hood.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I did’t pick this one simply because that Acura itself wasn’t a great one

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        @slavuta,

        Were you alive in 1986? The Acura Legend was competing with the Audi 5000S and BMW 528i. Compared to them, it was a…well it was the Acura Legend. There was nothing else as good on the market. BMW had the more powerful 533i/535i, but it was not engineered to Honda standards and cost far more. If the Legend wasn’t great in the ’80s, then Mazda is Mitsubishi for the kind of people who normally buy VWs.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          you’re funny, eh? I drove that car! Nice car. But after initial run they installed Yamaha engine in it. That engine wasn’t stellar.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            My above post should have said the competitive BMW was the 528e, which had 121 hp in 1986 compared to the Acura’s 515 hp. I don’t know anything of this Yamaha engine you mention. Yamaha did work with Toyota and Ford on automotive engines though.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Agree the original Legend was ‘peak Honda’ and the Brits were even able to mess that up.
      Although it did have a very good commercial with Patrick MacNee.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    Sterling. Late 1980s. Combo of Honda and Rover. Built by Rover workers and used Rover electrical systems. Complete disaster.

    This was built during a time that British cars were unreliable. Wait, that doesn’t help.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Yeah, when was that between 1900 and 2020?

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      I worked for Crutchfield in the early ’90s. We had a ‘lab’ where we developed car stereo installation/integration kits. The Legend was classic Honda. You could develop a couple of plugs that you would solder to the plugs that attached to the aftermarket head unit which would then plug into the Honda plugs that had been plugged into their head unit. Then you’d rely on Honda’s wiring for continuous and switched power and for distribution to the speakers.

      In addition to developing installation kits for mail-order customers, we performed installations for local customers. The installers loved Hondas and Acuras. You’d solder all the plugs together on the bench, the dash trim pieces and speaker grills would go on as smoothly as they came off, and you’d pocket your $55 for twenty minutes of work. Sterlings were built like mocked up prototypes by comparison. There was nothing remotely Honda about their wiring or interior quality. Chances were that the original stereo didn’t work, so there was no point in splicing into their amateur-hour wiring harnesses. Replacing the faulty wiring was complicated by their glued together garbage interiors. To be fair, even the best European cars had inventive solutions to HiFi when you went too far up their model lines, but Rover seemed aggressive in their efforts to not benefit from Honda’s production know-how.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Saaaabbbaaarruuuuuuu.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I confess to kinda liking the 9-2 – at the end of the day, it was a fancier WRX, and that’s not such a bad thing. Now, the 9-7 (Saaaablazer) was another story…

      (see below)

    • 0 avatar
      spookiness

      I had a Saabaru, bought new. Got rid of it after 8 months. The Subaru 4AT was really bad, the car pinged and knocked on all types of gas, the paint chipped easily, the MPG was horrible for such a cramped car, and the dealership was straightup douchebag. Traded it for a Mazda 3 hatch which was my 2nd favorite car to date.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Second choice: Saab 9-7…even more of a b*stard child than the 9-2 (which at least was good to drive, being a WRX).

    Whose idea was it to take a BOF Chevy SUV built in Ohio, stick a European badge on it, and try to sell it straight faced as a Mercedes/BMW competitor? Was that desperation or bad LSD? You decide.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      They had a Saab 9-6 in the works that was based on the Subaru Tribeca. It was going to be their three row crossover.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      There was supposed to be a Saab 9-6x, based on the Subaru B9 Tribeca. GM sold their Fuji Heavy Industries to Toyota and FHI though, so the 9-6x became the less-vulgar Tribeca facelift instead.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      AFAIK they did some legitimate performance upgrades, though, and the end result wasn’t really that bad. I mean, there’s something to be said for the bones and basic powertrain of a BOF Chevy but the handling and accouterments of a Saab. Not enough, clearly, but something.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    I’m not sure the 9-2x fits in this group. It happened because GM had a big chunk of Fuji Heavy Industries at the time. Supposedly, Subaru wasn’t an enthusiastic participant. They were rewarded though, because a number of orphaned Saab owners learned that there was another option for people who wanted quirky and problematic cars.

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    I’m tempted to say the Volkswagen Routan–also known as a Chrysler minivan with a slightly better interior. But it wasn’t really bad, just boring in a way that a VW usually is not.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    Can I nominate the Mazda Yaris, the Subaru 86 and the BMW Supra? If I buy a Toyota, it’s going to be because I want a Toyota.

    • 0 avatar
      Jean-Pierre Sarti

      I partially agree with you. I mean even if the chassis is a BMW we all wanted the Supra to have one of those Yamaha tuned Toyota engines of the past.

      But keep in mind that all three manufacturers have to go through Toyota quality control. That is why the Yaris Sedan/iA have not had reliability issues. And I have read that the Toyobaru is the most reliable car Subaru makes. The Supra MKV forums indicate the same will be true for the BMW Supra.

      So at the end of the day if it is as reliable as Toyota demands it is so bad?

    • 0 avatar
      FerrariLaFerrariFace

      Interesting you say that. Back when I was looking at small cars, I said that if I was going to buy a Toyota, it would be because I really want a Mazda.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I’m two for three on those. I’d check out the Yaris (and in fact I have, for my kid – it’s a darn good little driver) and the 86. I’d pass on the Supra, but not because of the whole “is it a Toyota or BMW” fake controversy; the plain fact is that a C7 ‘Vette is the best thing in this segment, and I’d snap one up while it’s still available.

      But at the end of the day, they’re all interesting cars that I’m glad to see on the market, and they wouldn’t be without corporate mashups.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I would say, Yaris is non-issue from beginning because Mazda makes some of the most reliable cars. I also watched video on u-tube where they showed impact Toyota had on joint development with BMW. All the quality processes they put in place and also differences 2 cars have enough to say that these are not same car. 86 would have my biggest suspicion. And only because of flat-4 engine that has hereditary problems.

    • 0 avatar
      spookiness

      The Yariszda is coming as a hatch for 2020, and the XLE trim doesn’t look bad. The foglights and some brightwork help fill & balance out that fishmouth grill. I am thinking a 2020or2021 Corolla hatch might be in my future but I’d give the Yaris a look. Toyota does do Android Auto yet, but Mazda does so it comes on the Yaris but not the Corolla. That won’t be a deciding factor between the two, but Toyota needs to get with the program.

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    Saab 9-7. Making a Chevrolet truck (actually an Oldsmobile truck) into a Saab must have seemed sublime–to GM’s marketing geniuses.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “Making a Chevrolet truck (actually an Oldsmobile truck) into a Saab must have seemed sublime–to GM’s marketing geniuses after downing a bottle of Absinthe.”

      There, fixed it for you!

    • 0 avatar
      Mackey

      At least the 9-7x actually produced the best looking (inside and out) and best driving version of any vehicle on that platform! For that reason alone, I can’t give it this prize.

      Actually, the same goes for the 9-2x. Both are regrettable in their existence, but at least each was a much better styled version of the vehicle they were based on!

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    Daewoo Nubria. You’d think a partnership between GM, a fast-rising South Korean automaker, and an Italian design firm would turn out something at least halfway decent. Instead, it ended up being a very boring designed econo-car with a weak powertrain and an interior that made the GM economy cars of that era look like a Lexus. One of the reasons why Daewoo failed and didn’t GM end up absorbing them or eating the brunt of the cost? I recall it ending badly for everyone.

    I would also nominate the Geo Metro, which was part of the GM-Suzuki partnership. In 1989, gas was dirt cheap (even accounting for the brief spike in 1990 due to the Iraq invasion of Kuwait and Gulf War I) and performance was finally returning. So there was NO REASON for GM to introduce this tin can, 3-cylinder weakling to the masses. It served its purpose – dirt cheap transportation that was cheap to feed and maintain – but as an image builder for the new Geo brand, it wasn’t the way to start.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    Say what you will about the X-Type, but it looked the part, and frankly, the interior quality wasn’t far off the “real” Jags (I love the X308, but that’s some cheap plastic wrapped in very nice leather).

    The Alfa Romeo Arna, was a questionable idea though – a Japanese car built by Italians seems completely backwards to anything appealing.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    Saab 9-7…I had the regrettable duty of parking next to one for a year or two…that collaborative garbage was so awful that any utility it may have offered was quickly overcome by pure detestation…

  • avatar
    R Henry

    The Isuzu Rodeo rebadged as Honda Passport in USA. The Isuzu wasn’t on par with what American buyers expected from a Honda product. It did not reflect well on Honda.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Good one. I bought a Rodeo back in ’97 because I figured if Honda was selling it then it must be decent… wrong. For an Isuzu I’m sure it was fine, but as a 3 time Honda owner I found it was sub-par and basically unacceptable. I hated it so much I traded it in after only 8 months. That is the fastest I have ever gotten rid of a vehicle. Serious hate on that stupid thing. The spare tire blocking the tailgate meant that loading it was pain. I pulled off the side of the road once near a lake to do some fishing and the darn thing got STUCK. So even the one thing it should have been decent at was a failure.

      • 0 avatar
        R Henry

        This week I am neck deep in a 2001 Rodeo..low miles, great condition. I am replacing the engine because the owner (my neighbor) never checked the oil. I must admit, it is an easy car to work on. The engineering seems very robust, simple, well built. That does not mean it is as good to own/drive as a Honda, but it isn’t necessarily krap either….

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    How about the Alfa Romeo 164, the Saab 9000’s roguish, coke-addicted second cousin?

  • avatar
    WalthamDan

    Hyundai Excel / Mitsubishi Precis

    Pro: Offered at a low entry price
    Con: You get what you paid for

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Mazdas circa 90-2005. Culprit – FORD! This cooperation created very unreliable Mazdas.

    Also Honda/Accura – Isusu – what a disaster that was!

  • avatar
    1500cc

    GM seems to be a notable offender in this area:

    Cadillac BLS, a slightly warmed-over Saab 9-3 sold only in Europe, and to practically no one

    Chevy City Express van, based on a POS Nissan NV200, again sold to practically no one

    The 90s Pontiac LeMans, based on the Daewoo LeMans/Opel Kadett, and a truly horrible automobile

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    Maybe not inherently ‘awful’ but definitely disappointing: the Dodge Chrysler versions of the DSM coupes. The Mitsubishi, Eagle, and even the Plymouth (at first) first and second generations offered lighter, better styling, rowdy turbocharged 4 cyls, and AWD which made a solid case for taking fwd based sports coupes seriously as performance machines. Dodge and Chrysler got attractively styled but bigger/heavier coupes with the ‘top’ versions getting a mild mannered V6 hooked to a slushbox…sheep in wolves clothing. By ‘01 the Eclipse was a shell of the prior generations, but it was a small win for Dodge/Chrysler with a bigger more powerful V6 and available manual. But the writing was on the wall, pretty coupes with only soft core performance available is a dead end.

    The LH platform was designed around supporting both fwd and rwd layouts. The parts bins had both stout V6 and V8 power plants…plug and play was all Ma Mopar had to do. Migrate the Avenger/Sebring coupes’ style to the LHS platform in RWD setup, use the high output 3.5L as the base plant for both but a turbo variant in a tech/lux oriented Sebring, and a hotrodded 4.7 V8 for the Dodge. BAM! 2 distinct coupes that are perfect image builders for their brands and much more attainable than the Viper. But true Mopar muscle would have to wait till ‘05…

    • 0 avatar
      iNeon

      It’ll break your head when you truly integrate that the neon’s cylinder head was a backwards-engineered 1G Mitsubishi Eclipse—

      Which was then swapped with Mitsubishi— and used in the 2G Eclipse(with reversed intake/exhaust— neon made more power than Eclipse/Avenger/Talon) to absolutely no fanfare.

      Facts is fun.

  • avatar

    Saab 9-4X. Built on the SRX frame, had a turbo motor that also showed up one year in the early SRX. There are a very few out there, GM-SAAB abandoned it….so things like the special windshield are very expensive..some SRX parts fit, some dont…..turbo motor also an orphan.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    AMC/Renault. Junky American car company on a death watch decides marrying a temperamental French car company would save the day. Hahahahaha!

    • 0 avatar
      theflyersfan

      I was ready to nominate the Eagle Premier with my post above. In the end, it wasn’t a terrible car, but it was born under some really bad circumstances. Renault in the 80s…ugh. AMC had collapsed and Chrysler had the remains (wanting Jeep). And then the partnerships. For the late 80s, it wasn’t bad and had some interesting tech, but from what I understand, zero reliability and was behind the times under the hood as well. I guess there’s a reason it only lasted a few years and then the LH cars blew it out of the water.

      • 0 avatar
        Mike Beranek

        Buuuuut, the LH platform is an evolution of the Premier, and the 3.5l is a PVR V6 in disguise. That being said, I owned a ’97 Intrepid 3.5 and it was a great car; fast, handled great for the size, and it never stranded me. My FIL owned a Premier and traded it in for a new ’92 Camry after 2 years. The Camry is still running with 365k.

    • 0 avatar
      R Henry

      From what I understand the Renault Alliance was the least reliable car sold in USA during that period.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        And given the period, that’s saying something.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        The were introduced in the 83 model years. A friend of my sister bought a base red two door and got a few fairly reliable years out of it then traded it in for a red Hyundai Excel three door that was also amazingly reliable, some people had good luck with these econo cars.
        By the late 80’s one of our local junkyards had its own section dedicated to Renault Alliance/Encore.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      Although, Renault’s involvement was instrumental in the development of the XJ Cherokee and ZJ Grand Cherokee. It might not have been great for AMC, but it worked out spectacularly for Jeep.

    • 0 avatar
      free2571

      Renault Alliance?
      Owner: Every time I bring this in it costs me $1500.
      Me: A head gasket and what else?
      Owner: A head gasket and a clutch.

  • avatar
    JoeBrick

    Merkur XR4Ti -A Euro-peon Ford Sierra put together in Germany by Karmann. The one I bought must have fallen off the boat on the way over. My neighbor with the Yugo and I could tell each other stories ALL DAY.

    • 0 avatar
      theflyersfan

      JoeBrick – if you have Amazon Prime, and are a fan (and haven’t watched it already), check out the last episode of the third season of The Grand Tour. It’s a memorial service to Ford and the death of their midsized cars. They greatly miss that Sierra/XR4Ti!

      And I know it was meant to be cheap Eastern Bloc transportation, but I’m still convinced that everyone who dreamed up the Yugo should be forced to drive one until the day they drift off this planet for good…

  • avatar
    WildcatMatt

    I was going to nominate the entirety of the Daimler/Chrysler tie-up, but I guess the 300 turned out all right and that had Daimer’s schnitzel-stained fingerprints smeared on it.

    So I’ll settle on calling out the 2004-2008 Pacifica/R-Class cousins. On the surface, the Pacifica should have been a winner, although in retrospect it was about 5 years too early.

    But because Mercedes wanted a fancy crossover, they forced Chrysler to effectively make the Pacifica a public beta-test for some tech they were interested in, like unnecessarily complex 3-segment AWD driveshaft.

    Daimler took away the lessons from the Pacifica and apart from selecting a different AWD setup in the R-Class, ignored all the rest of them. As a result, the R-Class was even worse from a reliability perspective.

  • avatar
    ssth

    I guess the third generation J-body, the Toyota Cavalier! Poor Toyota…

  • avatar
    Lokki

    Sadness is the once-fabled name Lancia, reduced to a badge stuck onto the nose of a Chrysler Grand Voyager mini-van.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    First-generation Range Rover Evoque. How to take a Ford Escape Titanium, make it worse in all respects that matter, and charge $15k more for it.

    (The second generation is equally hateful but can’t qualify here because it’s a fully homegrown JLR product.)

  • avatar
    Jagboi

    Honda Crossroad, which was simply a rebadged fist gen Land Rover Discovery

  • avatar
    darisgin

    I was gonnna go with AMC Alliance but–and I admit I sorta cheated–I found the mid-engined Pontiac Fiero-based Zimmer Quicksilve,1984-1988.

    Seriously, NOT an attractive match:
    https://www.motor1.com/news/78654/the-zimmer-quicksilver-is-actually-a-pontiac-fiero-in-disguise/

    • 0 avatar
      darisgin

      I *did* remember the following, which I came across while lusting after Panteras: Not quite a mash-up or rebadge, but do Google the Dodge Omni 024 de Tomaso!

      • 0 avatar
        darisgin

        And I think someone mentioned the rebadged Isuzu Trooper/Acura SLX and the Honda Passport/Isuzu Rodeo. And I’d bet the Isuzu P’up (one of which I drove from CT to Alaska and back) got rebadged somewhere–Yah, the Chevy Luv. None of these were *too* ugly, but they were weird re-badges in an early emerging-markets manufacturers transitioning to U.S. automotive sales.

  • avatar
    V8biturbo

    1990´s Ford Galaxy/Volkswagen Santana, VW Pointer/Ford Escort. It´s unbelievable how bad were Autolatina´s products, specially Ford´s, some of the used Ford engines that were totally unreliable.

    • 0 avatar
      WallMeerkat

      That era of mark5 Escort was renowned in the UK as being awful, so much so they rushed an emergency facelift and nip-tuck, and spend a fortune making sure the Mondeo was half decent, then by the time of the mark1 Focus they were building a good car.

  • avatar
    downunder

    Holden Premier = Mazda Roadpacer, replace a straight 6 engine with a 13B rotary hauling 1500+kg’s, went like a brick. Ford Falcon Utility = Nissan UTE, replace ford badges with vinyl stickers saying NISSAN UTE. Holen Commodore = Toyota Lexcen, badge engineering in it’s truest form.

    • 0 avatar
      TS020

      And on the other end we have the VL Calais Turbo, which everyone (except V8 die-hards) loved.

      People are asking $40K for them on carsales though :/

      Also don’t forget the Holden Apollo/Toyota Camry and I think there was also a Barina/Swift collab as well.

  • avatar
    chiefmonkey

    How about the Acura SLX? That was pretty bad in my book.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrysler_TC_by_Maserati

  • avatar
    STS_Endeavour

    Acura SLX?

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    Porsche 914. Meant to be VW, ended up being marketed as a Porsche.
    Porsche 924, same story. It shared its Audi motor with 1977–1979 AMC Gremlin, Concord, and Spirit.

  • avatar
    WallMeerkat

    I don’t get the hate for the X type. VW has been platform sharing for years, the A4 was always related to the Passat, and are now related to budget brand Skoda.
    From what I read, it was a minority of parts that were common to the Mondeo, and that era of Mondeo was actually a good car.

    The worst examples of automotive co-operation – BL to MG Rover.
    The Triumph Acclaim was a signoff to the brand and was nothing more than a Honda Balade (Civic sedan). The next generation Rover 200 was similar, a rebadged Balade, though their co-operation with the 2nd gen 200 meant that it (R8 gen) and the Honda Concerto were a good car.
    BMW took over and the new mid-sizer 75 became a retro car similar to the X type. There were plans to sell it in the US alongside MINI but BMW took that small car brand, along with some 4×4 tech, and kicked Rover to the kerb.
    A group bought them out, but then rebadged an Italian Qvale as an MG, then a Tata Indica economy car as a Rover – the 2nd batch of which were stuck at port as by this point the company had gone bust.

    Special mentions
    – Alfa ARNA, Italian electrics and Nissan Cherry body
    – Cadillac BLS, at least it’s something a bit different, and parts shared with the 9-3 means it can be repaired in Europe
    – Mercedes X class, a rebadged Nissan Navara pickup (known for blowing engines and cracked chassis) with a basic interior for a Mercedes price
    – Mercedes Citan, a Renault Kangoo compact van
    – Mazda 121 which at one point was a rebadged Fiesta
    – SEAT Toledo mk4. Controvertial, I nearly bought one as they are cheap and roomy, but they weren’t a SEAT. They were a Skoda Rapid with a sporty SEAT grille

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      The Acclaim was the first decent car to wear a Triumph badge in a long time.

      https://www.flickr.com/photos/triggerscarstuff/6847102793/in/album-72157629246081979/

      BL cooperation with Honda improved the Concerto? And Lennie Small was the brains of the operation.

  • avatar
    free2571

    Volvo with the Renault V6. DeLorean motor. I lived every agonized moment with that steaming heap as a Volvo mechanic 1979-2010. Flat cams so often the job was called bi-camma-jamma. Sludge monster from the planet X. On the 260 body, you cut holes in the firewall to slide cams out the back. Not bitter, just sayin’.

  • avatar
    415s30

    I love a Saabaru!


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • 415s30: I love a Saabaru!
  • DenverMike: As long as you know what you’re getting into. Diesels have evolved, except they’re delicate...
  • JoeBrick: Well, apparently the Europeans have not as gone nuts as we have over CUVs and SUVs. I prefer the wagons...
  • JimZ: I’m starting to think that just like we make people wait until they’re 18 to have the right to...
  • whynotaztec: Over the past few months I have found Subarus to be the most aggravating vehicles on the road, whether...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States