Brand is paramount in the car business, and one bad product can be remembered for generations. Jalopnik readers have picked ten cars that have brought shame to their company's name and helped tarnish, if even briefly, their reputations.
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Photo Credit: Alfa Romeo
10.) Honda Crosstour
Suggested By: Yield2no1
Why it's embarrassing: Oh Honda, your cars used to be light, and airy, and spritely and different. Now you build a fat, ugly crossover. It's slightly better for the world than a full-size SUV, but that is hardly an accolade for a once-great company.
Photo Credit: Honda
9.) Mustang II
Suggested By: Gamecat235
Why it's embarrassing: The best thing you can say about a Mustang II was that it was a very good Pinto. Otherwise it was a slow, rattling little crapcan. With engines choked by Ford's laziest attempts to meet smog regulations it was a disgrace to the company that put the world on wheels. We'd still drive one of those crazy King Cobra Mustang IIs, though.
Photo Credit: Ford/OldCarBrochures
8.) BMW 5-Series Gran Turismo
Suggested By: kooper
Why it's embarrassing: No car made by these Bavarians has strayed farther from the message of "the ultimate driving machine" than this bloated statusmobile, gorgeous interior notwithstanding.
Photo Credit: CarSpotter
7.) Cadillac Cimarron
Suggested By: Nate with shorter name
Why it's embarrassing: In the depth of the Great Depression, Cadillac built a V16 super-luxury car and then followed it with a V12. Few cars have ever been so bold. There was absolutely nothing bold about this wimpy, cost-effective, upmarket Chevy Cavalier.
Photo Credit: Cadillac
6.) Jeep Compass
Suggested By: frankiepoops
Why it's embarrassing: It's bad enough that Chrysler Co. stuck some trim on a family hatchback and called it a genuine offroader. But they pretended the Comapass was a real Jeep, the most renowned and respected American name in offroading in the entire world. And they chose to base it off of the hateful Dodge Caliber of all things. What a shameful mark on a brand.
Photo Credit: David Priddy
5.) Alfa Romeo Arna
Suggested By: Nuno Cardoso
Why it's embarrassing: Before and after the second World War, Alfa Romeo was the most dominant force in motorsports in the world, with a competition heritage already tracing back decades. At the end of the 1960s, it had built some of the greatest luxury cars the world had ever seen, some of the greatest affordable sports cars, and some of the greatest family cars as well.
Then, in the tough economic times of the early ‘80s, Alfa took a Datsun 310 and replaced the most trusted Japanese parts (like the engine and transmission) with their own. It managed to embrace the worst of both worlds.
Photo Credit: Alfa Romeo
4.) Lincoln Versailles
Suggested By: dogisbadob
Why it's embarrassing: Lincoln, the company that built a V12 grand tourer, a cost-no-object luxury coupe, and perhaps the most handsome American car built after WWII, went and took a Ford Granada, stuck on some chrome, and called it a Versailles. From '77 to '80, Lincoln charged three times the base price of its donor car for this thing. Unlike the lowly Cimarron, the Versailles was the most expensive car that Lincoln produced at the time.
Photo Credit: Lincoln/OldCarBrochures
3.) Saab 9-7x
Suggested By: teampenske3
Why it's embarrassing: Most of the world's small, strange car companies had died out by the end of the ‘60s. Saab plodded on long enough to be infected with this Chevy Trailblazer. Oh man, the key goes in between the seats! It's a real Saab now.
Photo Credit: Saab
2.) Chrysler TC by Maserati
Suggested By: Therage
Why it's embarrassing: Chrysler's Lee Iococca was friends with Alejandro de Tomaso, who owned Maserati in the late ‘80s. To make the most of the friendship, Chrysler stretched their front-wheel-drive platform to make cheap sedans for old people and then had Maserati build a custom body and tune one of their 2.2 liter turbo engines for it.
The only problem was that the body looked just like a regular Chrysler, the engine wasn't anything special, and the chassis was awful. The car was a complete sales failure, tarnishing both the once-proud Chrysler name and Maserati at the same time.
Photo Credit: Chrysler/OldCarBrochures
1.) Aston Martin Cygnet
Suggested By: Hadaken
Why it's embarrassing: Aston Martin builds ultra-desirable James Bond fantasy cars, not rebadged Toyotas. The Cygnet is a joke. If they want to meet emissions requirements they'd be better off building cars with bike pedals.
Photo Credit: Ed Callow