The Ten Biggest PR Fails In Car Industry History

Just because big car companies have millions in their advertising budgets doesn't mean they get things right every time. Just take these ten massive PR disasters, for example.


10.) Audi's green police

First of all, this ad was misleading and annoying at best. An even bigger problem was that "green police" is otherwise known as Ordnungspolizei, the force led by a certain SS boss Heinrich Himmler between 1936 and 1945.

At least the Germans should know their history.

Suggested By: cazzyodo


9.) Fiat's large ass

The Fiat 500 coming to the US? Great news. Jenny from the block not driving it for two very solid reasons? Bad. Very bad.

Suggested By: J. Walter Weatherman


8.) Edsel's ponies

The Ten Biggest PR Fails In Car Industry History

The Edsel story was a disaster, Frank Sinatra or not, but this pony contest was even worse with everybody opting for the cash prize instead.

Suggested By: Bullitt417 can comment again! and The Voice of Harold Montgomery, Photo credit. Edsel.net


7.) Renault's rotten pear

The Ten Biggest PR Fails In Car Industry History

It was the French lemon:

The Renault 14 "La Poire" campaign wasn't great. In French the term for pear also means gullible. So basically if you bought one, you were a sucker who liked short, chubby things that had corrosion issues. An oops that's really embarrassing in a company's native language.

Suggested By: burglar can't heart click anything, Photo Credit: Renault


6.) Ford Aerostar

Easy to get in, easy to drive, easy to stretch out in, easy to handle, easy to park, but there was a problem with the Aerostar's ad approach as N2Skylark explains.

Comparing your brand-new slant-nose minivan to the newfangled space shuttle? Great idea!

Launching that ad campaign the year of the Challenger Disaster? Not so great idea.

Suggested By: N2Skylark


5.) Toyota's Total Recall

The Ten Biggest PR Fails In Car Industry History

Toyota's entire US lineup was recalled at least once in 2010. Communicate that!

Suggested By: Yield2no1, Photo Credit: Jalopnik/NHTSA


4.) Oprah's Pontiac giveaway

OMG,OMG! You're getting a boring car for free, but will have to pay taxes.

Paying taxes and a front-wheel drive Pontiac is no good news.

Suggested By: The Scrambler says it can be done


3.) Volvo's sensor problems

What they wanted to say was that Volvo is still a pioneer in safety. What they actually said wasn't close to that at all.

And it happened twice.

Suggested By: Yield2no1


2.) Chrysler's American muscle

The Ten Biggest PR Fails In Car Industry History

This twin-turbo Mitsubishi was supposed to be the pace car for the '91 Indy 500. Public outrage made sure that was changed to the Viper prototype.

Suggested By: reverberocket is nipping the apex., Photo Credit: Dodge


1.) GM executives flying private jets during bailout

The Ten Biggest PR Fails In Car Industry History

Asking for taxpayer money from Congress sucks. Flying commercial sucks harder.

As POD puts it:

They had the oppertunity to drive to D.C in their cars as a show of product and as an attempt to restore faith/interest in their brand. Instead, they fly. On private jets. Huge PR fail there.

Suggested By: PTLmarketingltd, Photo Credit: Matt Biddulph

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