People generally assume that Henry Ford invented the automobile as we know it, but the myth stems from the fact the he owned the first automotive firm to fully use the production process of the assembly line. In fact the first automobile, the Benz Patent Motorcar, was invented by German inventor Karl Benz in 1885.
Nevertheless, one can not ignore the importance of American consumers and manufacturers in automotive history. Much of America lacks the public transit to make life possible without owning a vehicle, ranging from large open highway stretches to vast towns and sprawling suburbia. Apply to the experiences of popular culture, from films like The Fast and The Furious and Bullitt to the muscle car mania of hit the country in the 1960s and 1970s, and it’s no wonder that America’s automotive manufacturers have always put out as many new and exciting items as possible
With the automotive market increasingly changing due to global competition, rising and dropping fuel prices and emerging technology, American automakers are facing a difficult challenge when it comes to predicting exactly which cars will succeed and fail. And while sports cars such as Ford’s Mustang, sedans such as Lincoln’s Continental, or even pickup trucks such as the Dodge Ram line have become eternally connected to the automotive past, each American carmaker also has a long list of dudes to his name.
Keep on scrolling for 20 of America’s very worst cars, stinkers so awful that no one will buy them at any price.
5 Chevrolet Avalanche
Among American automakers, who were still struggling to compete with an import market that offered cheaper, more affordable entry-level vehicles, as well as superior luxury and premium goods, the mid 2000s were a tough time. It seemed as if American brands were getting a monopoly on the truck and SUV market, so most ended up trying to push the boundaries of what their trucks and SUVs could do.
Ultimately, however, attempting to combine the intent of two types of automobile usually results in a disappointing product, and hopefully Chevrolet learned that lesson with the hilariously ugly Avalanche.
Where crossovers unified the market for minivan and SUV, the Avalanche tried to combine the types of truck and SUV, with the result that either job could not be done very well. The Avalanche, built on the same design as the popular Suburban and Escalade models, also offered a short truck bed back out, enabling users to fold down the second row of seats when more room was required. Unfortunately, this meant that any kind of weather would then reach the passenger cabin, while the thick (and excessively clad) truck bed walls of the Avalanche doubled as insulated coolers but kept bed width to a minimum, too. The Avalanche did not help either with grey plastic faux roll bars.
4 Ford C-Max Hybrid
US buyers may not know that since 2003 Ford’s C-Max range of updated Focus hatchbacks has been sold in Europe. Yet in the end, Americans would actually be pleased about it, because even when Ford launched the C-Max in the form of hybrid and energy (or plug-in hybrid) in the U.S. for 2012, the car proved to be ludicrous and terrible. Ford ‘s goal was to deliver the most affordable hybrid car on the market, and although the price was definitely low, the C-Max Hybrid was just very cheap.
The fuel economy of the car ultimately resulted in a class action suit, as Ford massively overrated the car’s MPGs and range on the car’s window sticker and in commercials. Although with the rising hybrid market, production ended in 2018, the C-Max Hybrid had been too bad.
3 Jeep Cherokee
Jeep’s long tradition of producing competent off-road vehicles ended with the 2014 model Jeep Cherokee. For rock crawlers like the Wrangler in the series, as well as more luxurious styled versions like the Grand Cherokee that still did well on the road and in the snow, Jeep sought to re-envision the Cherokee as a compact SUV / minivan – which was once a top-level SUV at home and on the dirt.
And while the crossover market continues to expand at an unprecedented pace, Jeep ‘s new Cherokee does dishonor the legacy of the company.
Once upon a time, the Jeep Cherokee was a boxy, truck-based SUV with impressive ground clearance, straightforward controls, and an interior bordering on spartan utilitarianism. Now the new Cherokee has tiny wheels, ground clearance only slightly better than a minivan, and almost stupid attempts at styling outside. Also in a front wheel drive configuration, the Cherokee comes true heresy for everyone who has ever loved Jeeps. The front grill shows the wide waistline of the Cherokee, while four sets of headlights and a split of fog lights are coated in various opening styles and lenses. The completely sad Cherokee collection is rounded out by an interior designed for grocery stores.
2 Oldsmobile Aurora
Oldsmobile decided to add a new high-end sports sedan to its range in the late 1990s to build on their Toronado legacy and 98 goods. Aurora’s first generation debuted for the 1998 model year and while ads tried to tag the big sedan as a sports car, not many Americans were fooled – it’s hard to sell a boat-like, 3,600 pound, front wheel drive vehicle with a four-speed automatic transmission, much less when it’s called a sports car. In 2001, the simplistic exterior of the first-generation Aurora gave way to a second-generation redesign, which only helped to solidify the bulbous appearance of the Aurora in the public mind.
Oldsmobile otherwise hardly modified the car for its facelift, keeping a mediocre V8 (as well as an entirely underpowered V6) under the hood, again powering the front wheels by an automatic four-speed. GM’s announcement in December 2000 that Oldsmobile would phase out as a company certainly didn’t help, and obviously the Aurora wouldn’t be the savior Oldsmobile desperately needed to continue its existence. Aurora’s second generation total sales only barely exceeded half the sales of the first generation, in fact, and luckily the concept slipped out of existence along with the brand by 2004.
1 Ford Thunderbird
The Ford Thunderbird is yet another example of a failed attempt at retro-styling as the revitalizing factor in the revival of a brand. The original 1950s and 60s Ford Thunderbird models were some of the most classic Ford vehicles, starting as Corvette-challenging sports cars then giving way to a mix of touring and muscle car profiles with long curves, strong haunches, and plenty of chromed-out fins. Also the first generation T-Bird was available with a 5.1-liter supercharged V8, using dual four-barrel carburetors to churn out 300 horsepower.
As Ford reintroduced the Thunderbird in 2002 for an eleventh generation, the result was a mixture of underwhelming strength, odd design and a loss in brand memory overall.