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Old 08-15-2011, 08:46 AM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default 10 auto design duds

10 auto design duds

Innovative or ill-advised? You be the judge. Here are 10 cars that just never quite caught on.







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When writing about Nissan's Murano CrossCabriolet recently, I was reminded how difficult it is to create a new automotive concept -- and how harshly the market treats original ideas. The CrossCabrio is the ambitious -- or perhaps foolhardy -- attempt to create a crossover with a convertible top.Bright ideas are hard to pull off. For every Chrysler minivan or Ford Explorer four-door SUV, there are dozens of one-hit wonders and new concepts that failed to catch on. The Pontiac Aztek, an unholy combination of minivan and SUV, is the classic example, but there have been many others through the years.
http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2011/...on=money_autos
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Old 08-15-2011, 08:49 AM   #2
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Here is the list, If you want to read each one, hit the link



Willys Jeepster 1946-1950

AMC Pacer 1975-1980

General Motors EV-1 1996-1999

Suzuki X-90 1996-1998

Plymouth Prowler 1997-2002

Ford Excursion 2000-2005

Chevrolet SSR 2003-2006

Subaru Baja 2003-2006

GMC Envoy XUV 2004-2005

Acura ZDX 2010-
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Old 08-15-2011, 09:07 AM   #3
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I for one thought the Prowler looked great. It was the lack of power that didnt catch on.
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Old 08-15-2011, 09:34 AM   #4
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^Yeah, I think they did a pretty cool job on the Prowler and it was a very niche market type of vehicle. Not every soccer mom was going to run out and buy it, which was part of the point; it was never meant to be a huge selling vehicle. Can't see how that is a design dud.
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Old 08-15-2011, 11:41 AM   #5
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the engine in the Prowler killed it, agreed.
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Old 08-15-2011, 11:43 AM   #6
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my take on why it was a dud is because it had a v6 and an auto. i agree that it was supposed to be a niche vehicle, and that's probably why they wouldn't commit fully to it, but a v6 and an auto is the best way to cut it off at the knees. the only people who would care if it had a 6 or an 8 are the only people who appreciated the design. it's not like anyone would have expected them to put a flathead in it, but at least use a corporate v8.
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Old 08-15-2011, 11:47 AM   #7
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I liked the Prowler as well. I also like the SSR. I think the design is good, execution and marketing were not. Much like the prowler, it was under powered. However, without an increase in price at all, they added the LS2 and got it just shy of 400 hp. They also added a 6-spd manual towards the end. There were choices that I didn't agree with. Folding hardtop, when they could have had a MUCH cheaper product. Also, when you dump the LS2/400hp, you'd think there would be a commercial about it. but no.
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Old 08-15-2011, 11:49 AM   #8
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SSR=Heinous whip
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Old 08-15-2011, 11:57 AM   #9
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I like ugly cars.
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Old 08-18-2011, 10:55 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrSaabaru View Post
I liked the Prowler as well. I also like the SSR. I think the design is good, execution and marketing were not. Much like the prowler, it was under powered. However, without an increase in price at all, they added the LS2 and got it just shy of 400 hp. They also added a 6-spd manual towards the end. There were choices that I didn't agree with. Folding hardtop, when they could have had a MUCH cheaper product. Also, when you dump the LS2/400hp, you'd think there would be a commercial about it. but no.
I just hope you're being sarcastic...
... which you are most likely not :facepalm:
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Old 08-18-2011, 11:04 AM   #11
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What's so wrong about what I said? And no, I wasn't being sarcastic. :yourfacemypalm:
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Old 08-18-2011, 12:22 PM   #12
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Wait... does the author own an Aztec? Cause if not they mised a big one!

-Mike.
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Old 08-18-2011, 01:07 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by AVANTI R5 View Post
General Motors EV-1 1996-1999
This was not a BAD looking car, and it would be very popular now. But alas, GM repossessed all of them and destroyed them.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Who_Kil...lectric_Car%3F
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Old 08-18-2011, 01:19 PM   #14
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Definitely ahead of it's time. It's amazing how GM's upper management would cancel good stuff and persist on garbage.
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Old 08-21-2011, 06:35 PM   #15
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EV-1 was a beta test. GM couldn't allow the cars to stay past the lease due to legal requirements, and at the time the EV didn't make much sense with gas at $1/gal.

I think GM's biggest mistake was leaving the large cars altogether and putting texas$ into large SUVs, but the laws made them very desirable at the time due to tax and mpg rating reasons.
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Old 08-21-2011, 08:01 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpaone View Post
Wait... does the author own an Aztec? Cause if not they mised a big one!

-Mike.
Seriously.
The Pacer wasn't a bad-looking car, either, nor was the Prowler. The SSR was too huge for what it was, and the Baja was weird but not ugly.
Wasn't the Prowler FWD, too?
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Old 08-21-2011, 08:40 PM   #17
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It was RWD.
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Old 08-21-2011, 09:10 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrSaabaru View Post
I liked the Prowler as well. I also like the SSR. I think the design is good, execution and marketing were not. Much like the prowler, it was under powered. However, without an increase in price at all, they added the LS2 and got it just shy of 400 hp. They also added a 6-spd manual towards the end. There were choices that I didn't agree with. Folding hardtop, when they could have had a MUCH cheaper product. Also, when you dump the LS2/400hp, you'd think there would be a commercial about it. but no.
Despite having the LS2, the SSR still wasn't incredibly quick. Why spend $45k for an SSR with mediocre performance and no utility when you could spend the same amount on a 'vette that while not practical, still had much more performance than the SSR did?

The SSR was a lot like the Baja in that they both really didn't do anything well. The SSR wasn't fast, didn't handle well, had a useless "bed", could only seat two, etc. The Baja wasn't quick either, couldn't tow a heavy load, didn't have much payload capacity despite the bed, didn't have a 4WD system with a low range like a proper truck, etc.

The Prowler was a bit different, IMO. I believe that car could have stayed viable if it hadn't been priced out of its market. Like the SSR, it was expensive and still lacked performance although I think it could have ultimately been successful with a sane pricing strategy.
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Old 08-21-2011, 10:53 PM   #19
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I like Excursions...
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Old 08-22-2011, 09:29 AM   #20
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Despite having the LS2, the SSR still wasn't incredibly quick. Why spend $45k for an SSR with mediocre performance and no utility when you could spend the same amount on a 'vette that while not practical, still had much more performance than the SSR did?
I don't think they cross shopped the two. While I agree that they could have priced it better with a blindfold and some darts, I don't think it was that far off from what it tried to do, design-wise. It was never supposed to be a performance vehicle. At least not in the way people consider the Vette. I don't think 0-60 times of 5.7 seconds(according to a quick google) and a decent 6spd manual is bad at all for a niche truck like that. Weekend cruiser, convertible fun, whatever you want to call it, the SSR was never supposed to be a sports car, or for those who want pure performance, any more that it was supposed to be a pickup truck with a usable bed.

Quote:
The SSR was a lot like the Baja in that they both really didn't do anything well. The SSR wasn't fast, didn't handle well, had a useless "bed", could only seat two, etc. The Baja wasn't quick either, couldn't tow a heavy load, didn't have much payload capacity despite the bed, didn't have a 4WD system with a low range like a proper truck, etc.
I know this a matter of preference, but IMO, the SSR looked a TON better than the baja. If you thought the baja was visually acceptable, it still didn't do anything significantly better than the Outback, which was a much BETTER looking car. If you thought the SSR looked good, there wasn't anything quite like it. Again, with the caveat of idiot pricing.

Quote:
The Prowler was a bit different, IMO. I believe that car could have stayed viable if it hadn't been priced out of its market. Like the SSR, it was expensive and still lacked performance although I think it could have ultimately been successful with a sane pricing strategy.
I really don't see how anything in this part couldn't apply to BOTH cars, with the only difference being that you like one and not the other, while I like both.
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Old 08-22-2011, 01:15 PM   #21
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Quote:
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I don't think they cross shopped the two. While I agree that they could have priced it better with a blindfold and some darts, I don't think it was that far off from what it tried to do, design-wise. It was never supposed to be a performance vehicle. At least not in the way people consider the Vette. I don't think 0-60 times of 5.7 seconds(according to a quick google) and a decent 6spd manual is bad at all for a niche truck like that. Weekend cruiser, convertible fun, whatever you want to call it, the SSR was never supposed to be a sports car, or for those who want pure performance, any more that it was supposed to be a pickup truck with a usable bed.
You're ignoring the question here though. Besides (subjective) looks, why would you purchase an SSR over 'vette? That's my point and that's likely why this car was the failure that it was. It didn't do anything better than the 'vette, cost just as much and had a modicum of the performance.

Quote:
I really don't see how anything in this part couldn't apply to BOTH cars, with the only difference being that you like one and not the other, while I like both.
I don't really like either of them to be honest. But in my opinion, you got more for your money with the SSR than you did the Prowler. At the very least, the SSR had a V8. IIRC, Prowlers were in the same $45k ballpark that the SSR was in, for a car that looked cool with an anemic V6 from one of Chrysler's mid sized sedans. If it had been priced, say, $10k lower, that would have been forgiveable. However, when you start charging 'vette money for one, it's a whole different story.
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Old 08-22-2011, 01:54 PM   #22
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You're ignoring the question here though. Besides (subjective) looks, why would you purchase an SSR over 'vette? That's my point and that's likely why this car was the failure that it was. It didn't do anything better than the 'vette, cost just as much and had a modicum of the performance.
What about not wanting the stiff ride, the low driving postion, smaller storage space(sure the bed was useless, but could still carry more luggage than the vert vette), unique car...Sure those are all old-man features, but who buys vettes these days anyway?

To be clear, I'd prefer a vette too. In fact, there aren't too many cars north of 50,000 that I'd take a vette over anyway. I'm just saying that the SSR had more to offer than it gets credit for. As long as it's performance based, you're right. Once you go to different expected experiences, they each fill different needs for the person on the weekend cruise up the coast.

I'm not really ignoring the question. I just think that price, initial failings and no marketing behind corrections, and disgustingly poor option and feature content choices are why it failed.

, and I still think it's beautiful.
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Old 08-22-2011, 02:16 PM   #23
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I think it could be argued that the SSR and Prowler were not meant to be cars that would tear up the asphalt, despite their looks, and that was precisely what they were, lookers. cars you could sit in and cruise at a stately speed, not caring. If we are looking strictly at production numbers as clearance for failed cars, there's a Ferrari or two I'd like to submit.

Cars that were not on the list, but absolutely belong there ahead of the SSR and Prowler...

Edsel. Aztek. Yugo. DeLorean. Blackwood.

that's a short list of 100% utter failures. far exceeding any failure generated by the prowler or SSR.
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Old 08-22-2011, 02:23 PM   #24
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Mericans love Excursions. It was designed to fit our fat asses. I fail to see how that is a design dud.
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Old 08-22-2011, 03:08 PM   #25
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I think it could be argued that the SSR and Prowler were not meant to be cars that would tear up the asphalt, despite their looks, and that was precisely what they were, lookers. cars you could sit in and cruise at a stately speed, not caring. If we are looking strictly at production numbers as clearance for failed cars, there's a Ferrari or two I'd like to submit.
I agree.
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Blackwood.
There are cars that I don't like, then there are cars where I don't like you if you like them.
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