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BangShift Question of the Day: Which Failed Car Brand Has the Worst Reputation in America?

BangShift Question of the Day: Which Failed Car Brand Has the Worst Reputation in America?

So yesterday I was driving down the road and nearly crashed when an old Peugeot 505 passed me going in the other direction. I had not seen one of these things in years, let along spoken to anyone who actually owned and drove one. The car appeared to be in shockingly good shape with shiny paint and no visible smoke belching from the exhaust pipe. It was like seeing Elvis ride by on a unicorn.

Peugeot had a terrible reputation by the time they folded up their American operation in the early 1990s. So bad that they have not ever considered returning to the United States to this market, even 20 years after the waved the white flag in the first place. This whole scene got me to thinking about the many car companies which have failed, both the companies based here and those that came to the US market and failed. The list is really long. Kaiser-Fraser, Renault, Austin, Yugo, Alfa Romeo, Bricklin, Fiat (the first time around before they owned Chrysler), the aforementioned Peugeot, Rover, Triumph, and on and on.

With respect to the failed American brands, their problems seemed to be less based in quality of construction and more based in quality of competition and the simply cost of doing business. The larger companies simply spent the smaller ones to death. The others, well look at that list again. The foreign brands produced some truly hideous crap in the 1970s and 80s before people finally gave up buying their junk.

Today’s question of the day: What failed car brand has the worst Reputation in America?


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11 thoughts on “BangShift Question of the Day: Which Failed Car Brand Has the Worst Reputation in America?

  1. Gary Smrtic

    Ahh, can’t agree with Yugo as the worse loser. They were great, fun little cars, essentailly a Fiat 124 (or 128, I forget which) rebadged and built in Serajavo. They aren’t sold here because the factory was bombed into oblivion, not because they were that bad. Parts were readily available, as any Euro parts place had completely interchangable Fiat parts.
    But back to the subject, I’d say it’d have to be Pugeot. Hell, you couldn’t get parts for them in Germany, just a couple of hours awau from where they were made. I can’t imagine what it’d be like trying to get them here.

  2. BigJim

    In the late 70s my brother in law got a used Peugot 505 diesel. It just would not start in cold weather. Put it up for sale at a low price and got no interest. Finally a guy came to look at it and bought it a low low price. He was buying them up and down the east coast and shipping them to Saudi Arabia where he said the local mechanics knew how to fix them and they pretty much always started in the warm desert weather.
    It would have been an OK car if it did not have the non starting problem

  3. MGBChuck

    the car in the lead photo nicknamed a PigOut by mechanics would seem to be the one, at least the leader in the club house.

  4. Brendan M

    I rented a Renault Fluence last month in Ireland. It wasn’t that awful.
    Now my father’s old Opel GT, that was a terrible car.
    Worst Car = Opel

  5. Matt Cramer

    When it comes to their reputation among the general public, I don’t think anything can top Yugo. Not that some other companies haven’t taken a serious effort at it.

    However, I think the Bricklin was even worse. At least by the time he’d started importing Yugos, Malcom Bricklin had learned to stick to ordinary failures instead of inventing new ones, like plastic bodywork that leaked and cracked, and electric gullwing doors that trapped the driver inside if the battery died. Any idiot can build a poorly built car; coming up with failure modes like that takes a certain perverse sort of genius.

  6. Anthony

    My dad had a 504 in the late 70s a diesel . Slow and the dealer network sucked but it was a really comfortable nice car and rode well. They still have them around in Africa and the middle east and Hot Rod them up.

  7. David

    I loved my 84 505.it was gas. I put 80000 miles on it and trader it in on a 86 same model. It was not the same care noisy, poor finish etc.

    1. Tanglefoot

      Lada Nivea , a coworker had one once , biggest pos I have ever seen . It was fairly reliable , but the fit and finish was the worst I have ever seen , it looked like the thing was assembled at a school for the blind .

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