Friday, December 12, 2008

Ten Cars that killed Detroit

With word this morning that the UAW killed the bailout for Detroit automakers, this US News & World Report list comes at an appropriate time. It spotlights the horrifying litany of crappy cars produced by Detroit in its fat-dumb-happy heyday.

One of our "winners"

I modified the list a bit, since it included Japanese cars that helped put a stake in the heart of Detroit (e.g., the Prius).

10. Ford Pinto: Hey, only a couple of hundred fuel tanks exploded. What's the big deal?

9. Chevrolet Cavalier: Here's a plan: let's go a decade without upgrading any technology plus try to pawn off a high-end model (the Cadillac Cimarron) on an unsuspecting public. AKA the rubes. AKA us.

8. Chevrolet Astro: Hey, we need a minivan! Let's slap some sheet-metal on a truck -- no one'll know the difference!

7. Ford Taurus: Introduced in '86 to great acclaim, Ford went on to ignore the sedan for two decades, until it ended up an Avis staple.

6. Jaguar X-Type: Speaking of the Taurus, may I introduce the Jag X-Type? Or, as some like to call it, The Brand-Killer.

5. Hummer H-2: Can you imagine the planning process? "First, we're betting gas prices will never increase. Second, let's show everyone what we think of the environment. Third, the guiding principle is to crush other drivers."

4. Chrysler Sebring: It's called the Sebring because the Vapid was taken.

3. Ford Explorer: it's not a 401K rollover, but it's almost as well known for its catastrophic tendency to crush passengers. And it helped spawn Detroit's addiction to SUVs that ultimately doomed the company.

2. Chevy Cobalt: What's it take to win the "Least Reliable Small Car" award from Consumer Reports? Or a two-star review from TAC? Or blogosphere reviews like "...the worst vehicle I have ever driven..."? Simple. It takes a Cobalt.

1. Chevy Vega: Some of the quotes from Car Talk's worst car list say it all.

"As near as I could tell, the car was built from compressed rust."

"My Chevy Vega actually broke in half going over railroad tracks. The whole rear end came around slightly to the front, sort of like a dog wagging its tail."

"Burned so much oil, it was single-handedly responsible for the formation of OPEC."

* * *

What killed Detroit? There's a compelling argument that overregulation and Congressional idiocy played a central role. But these egregious examples of automotive mediocrity didn't help.

Any I missed?

Linked by: Gateway Pundit. Thanks!

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