QOTD: Wondering What They Were Thinking?

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

Bad product decisions cost auto manufacturers money, yet history provides us with many such examples. In today’s QOTD, we’re going to consider the best of the worst in poor automotive decision making. Present or past, anything goes in today’s inquiry. What vehicle makes you really wonder “what were they thinking?”

My example today is a questionable special edition, a topic which received its own QOTD a couple of years ago. Though TTAC reported it on it last year, yours truly was totally unaware of its existence until one appeared in afternoon commute traffic recently. Have a look:

You may recognize it as the Hyundai Kona, a subcompact CUV currently experiencing sales success. But it’s no ordinary Kona — it’s an Iron Man Edition. In traffic, the “IRONMAN” on the tailgate made me think it was a special edition similar to the old Ford Explorer, which represented the Ironman triathlon.

A Google search later that evening proved me quite wrong.

The text on the back is in fact Iron Man, as in the Marvel superhero. Hyundai debuted its special Kona last year at Comic-Con in San Diego. Iron Man is featured on the wheel caps, on the D-pillar, and in the headlamps. The hood says “MARVEL” on it, and the roof bears an Iron Man matte logo. There are also fender logos, side door decals, and embroidery on the seats to match. The package is finished in a gunmetal grey with ketchup-colored accents and roof. It’s garish, ridiculous, and in very questionable taste. Of course Hyundai has experience in this area, as they released the Walking Dead Edition Tucson a few years ago. And that Rare Ride came complete with bloody hand print decals. Yeesh.

What stands out to you as questionable automotive taste?

[Images: seller, Hyundai]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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2 of 91 comments
  • Nrd515 Nrd515 on Nov 14, 2019

    Every time I see a 2010 up Camaro. I didn't get it when they first appeared, and then in 2016, they upped the ugly. Sadly, it doesn't appear that they will be making another generation, so they will never get the chance to screw it up ONE MORE TIME! I'm sure they would have, it's what GM seems to do anymore.

  • Slow_Joe_Crow Slow_Joe_Crow on Nov 15, 2019

    Hyundai should revive the VW Trek edition idea and do a tie in with Kona Bicycles, all they need is a bike, a rack and some Kona pseudopod logos

  • Calrson Fan Jeff - Agree with what you said. I think currently an EV pick-up could work in a commercial/fleet application. As someone on this site stated, w/current tech. battery vehicles just do not scale well. EBFlex - No one wanted to hate the Cyber Truck more than me but I can't ignore all the new technology and innovative thinking that went into it. There is a lot I like about it. GM, Ford & Ram should incorporate some it's design cues into their ICE trucks.
  • Michael S6 Very confusing if the move is permanent or temporary.
  • Jrhurren Worked in Detroit 18 years, live 20 minutes away. Ren Cen is a gem, but a very terrible design inside. I’m surprised GM stuck it out as long as they did there.
  • Carson D I thought that this was going to be a comparison of BFGoodrich's different truck tires.
  • Tassos Jong-iL North Korea is saving pokemon cards and amibos to buy GM in 10 years, we hope.