The Ten Most Disappointing Car Commercials Of All Time

Automotive advertising is a black art and sometimes an ad perfectly captures what a car is supposed to be. These are not those ads. These are the letdowns and head-scratchers Jalopnik readers identified as the ten most disappointing car ads of all time.

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Photo Credit: Inspired by this classic Deadspin post.

10.) Frank Bullitt And His Ford Puma


Suggested By: zacarious

Why it's such a letdown: Steve McQueen's detective character wore turtlenecks and a shoulder holster, had connections in the underworld, and drove a fastback Mustang with a 390 V-8. All of which has nothing to do with the small, efficient Fiesta-based Puma. Miscasting at its most hopeless; the extra effort needed to bring McQueen back from the dead just rubs it in further.

9.) America Comes Home With Triumph TR7

Suggested By: End User

Why it's such a letdown: How to break free from decades of tradition and show your new contemporary direction? Hopefully by going someplace else than British Leyland's wonder studio of the inane and insane. The flashy opening visuals are completely forgotten by the time we get to the second jokey wedge-shaped garage.

8.) Chrysler: Imported From Detroit

Suggested By: Straightsix 9904

Why it's such a letdown: Save for a few years on Central time, I grew up around Detroit. I learned to drive there. I worked a summer at Tiger Stadium. (The real one.) I've watched this ad repeatedly and it still makes my eyes well up.

And it still leaves me feeling awkward because it's for the 200. So sort of a reverse disappointment: An epochal ad for a car that can't hope to live up to this kind of introduction.

7.) Introducing The Cadillac Cimarron

Suggested By: Brian, The Life of

Why it's such a letdown: The Cimarron is a perennial hate target among auto scribblers, but this isn't so much about the car as it is the ad. Ignore the perfunctory recitation of features and that voice might as well be selling feminine hygiene products. Any more dry-ice fog and it would be a weather report instead of a car spot. Not even going near the tinkly music.

Okay, we shouldn't expect too much from a regional ad. But at least they could have made it not embarrassing.

6.) Catera: The Caddy That Zigs

Suggested By: w1t3h4t

Why it's such a letdown: A decade-plus on: while production values have improved by several orders of magnitude, the story line has twisted off into some bizarre corner of unreality that involves an annoying cartoon bird and has nothing to do with cars.

Admittedly, asking any car to measure up against Cindy Crawford in her prime may be a bit much.

5.) Unaired Corvette C6 Ad

Suggested By: SyntheticBlinkerFluid

Why it's such a letdown: The disappointment here lies in the fact that this ad never got its turn. In a lot of ways it is perfect: we have ALL had this daydream in one car or another, and the C6 certainly wouldn't be anyone's last choice in that regard. Unfortunately, corporate types got cold feet about being a reckless influence on today's youth and spiked the spot.

Honestly, today's youth need more recklessness.

4.) Nissan Frontier Crushes Devil's Ridge

Suggested By: 86LX5.0:Drifting to the Left

Why it's such a letdown: The problem with using CGI in a commercial is that capabilities, and expectations, can reach excessive levels: With all that reality-altering power, one is compelled to do something spectacular.

This isn't spectacular. It could have been so much more.

3.) Jackie Stewart Evaluates The Ford Tempo

Suggested By: Honda_Hooning_Daily_Driver

Why it's such a letdown: The three-time World Driving Champion has never been shy about his availability for advertising, but it's still a bit of a heartbreak to watch this dazzlingly talented racer rattle off talking points while plowing around a track in a Tempo.

2.) Matthew Broderick's Day Off With A CR-V

Suggested By: Zergonn

Why it's such a letdown: Take one of the most gleefully escapist movies of all time, drain out all the charm and vivaciousness, retain a handful of references, and wrap it around possibly the most mainstream vehicle on the American market. The annoyance and compromise of adulthood in short-film form, combined with one of the saddest sellouts ever made public.

1.) The Crew

Suggested By: jcd302

Why it's such a letdown: Toyota's ads are slick, clean, high-concept — and utterly nonsensical. The Camry "Reinvented" ad is a trip into unreal irrelevance. More fuel for the fire: This spot for Toyota's Entune in-car telematics is another reminder that Toyota cares more about tech than building cars we'd want to drive. It's also deeply disturbing. As @mrbeaks put it, "The sexual chemistry between Kelly Clarkson and Chris Berman in that Toyota Camry commercial is off the charts."