Major mistakes can cost U.S. automakers a lot of time and money, and in some cases even cost drivers their lives. But it usually takes a combination of failures to make a car or an automotive brand truly flop — from design and engineering problems to poor sales or ... well, sometimes being ugly is all it takes. How many of these famous auto fiascos do you know? Can you identify each of these vehicle flops? Time to prove it!
For instance, remember the Ford Pinto? Originally an exciting subcompact car that was manufactured with the economy buyer in mind, the Pinto turned out to be one of all-time Ford's biggest mistakes. Introduced in 1971, by 1977 the Pinto was found to present an explosive danger — literally. It was manufactured with the gas tank placed so far back on the car that even a small rear-end collision could result in a fire. When the full ugliness of the fiasco was completely uncovered, it was discovered that some at Ford knew the gas tank placement was dangerous, but because the design would be too expensive to fix, they went ahead with production. Ultimately, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) forced a recall of all affected vehicles. Ford implemented modifications and paid out significant damages in response to more than 100 lawsuits.
Another memorable but thankfully less impactful flop on the part of Ford was the Edsel, a sedan named after Edsel Ford, the son of Henry Ford, the company's founder. Long story short: The vehicle was considered so unattractive to buyers that the company lost a whopping quarter of a million dollars on development. Which was a whole lot of money back then.
And that's just one manufacturer. How much do you know about automotive history and the other major automaker mistakes that have affected American drivers? Let's find out!