With the countless models of cars that have rolled off the automobile production lines since this form of motorised transport was invented, it is not surprising to find that some have been doomed to failure. Here are ten examples of cars that historically failed to sell in any substantial numbers.
1) Delrorean. Made famous in the “back to the future” films, the Delorean sports car, produced in Belfast, failed miserably, costing the UK taxpayer over 80 million. The car was deemed to be far too expensive for what it was and its performance failed to live up to expectation.
2) Citroen SM. One of the best looking and best performing cars that Citroen ever made was the SM. It was a sports car that also contained all the French expertise in design. However, due to poor sales, which resulted for the fuel crisis of the time, this gem was destined to die almost before it began its life.
3) Morris Iris. A six and four cylinder large saloon, the production of this car stopped in 1958 after only selling 12,000 models, which for a UK production car at the time was considered to be a totally unacceptable return on investment.
4) Amphicar. Built as a part car /part boat. The floor was liable to rotting and, as a result the car could sink. This was naturally considered to be an adverse selling point, as the manufacturers had not intended it to become a submarine. Need to say, it failed to sell in any significant numbers.
5) Bricklin SV-1. One of the original sports cars with gull-wing doors, which when opened gave it the look of a bird about to take flight, this Canadian car only achieved 2,857 in three years. This could be partially due to the fact that the doors leaked and, in a time when smoking was still not taboo, the Bricklin SV was provided without a cigarette or ashtray. As a result the company crashed, landing the government with an unpaid debt of $23 million.
6) Vauxhall Firenza hpf. Only 204 of these cars were made instead of the estimated 30,000 plus. It is said that the fuel crisis caused its demise. However, the fact that, unlike the Ford brand, Vauxhall were not renowned for the sports car proficiency probably contributed to the Firenza HPF downfall.
6) Suzuki X-90. A mini version SUV, this model was never popular. This could be partly due to the fact that it was only a two-seater and had little room for luggage. It was really just a fun car with a small following, not a good idea for a major Japanese mass automobile production company. With just over 7,200 sold in 3 years, it became one of the slowest selling production cars in history.
7) NSU R0 80. Due to reliability problems, mainly to do with its revolutionary Wankel engine, this car caused its company financial problems from the moment it hit the streets, where many of them failed to do much more that clutter up the sidewalks. This failure led to the company eventually being bought out by Volkswagen.
8) Plymouth Scamp. Based upon the Valiant, one of the problems with the scamp was that it was born too late, being at the tail end of the US muscle car era. This car sold around 2,000 units and therefore it is one of the rarest Plymouth’s around.
9) Tucker rear-engined car. Dogged by controversy and technical problems from the moment it was conceive, although it had some revolutionary safety features the Tucker sold only 51 before the company collapsed.
10) Renault Avantime. A French European MPV (Multi-purpose-vehicle) with an exotic and revolutionary shape and design that never really caught the imagination of the motoring public anywhere, the Avantime sold just over 8,000 before being withdrawn from production after just two years.
History will remember them