This car was first released in 1971 under the tagline “The Little Carefree Car”. It was economical on petrol in addition to being cheap and small in size. Shortly after it's release, it started facing legal cases and media onslaught due to it's tendency to burst into flames.
The reason why this was happening was as a result of a design flaw where the petrol tank was situated close to the rear bumper at the back. This caused the car bursting into flames even with a slight rear impact or bumper bender; it was recalled in 1978.
The car was manufactured to counter the VW Beetle which was then very popular. It was an American saloon car that had a rear-mounted engine, which could become dangerously unstable. The car’s rear axles had the tendency to roll out mid-turn.
Ralph Nader in his book about car safety, “Unsafe at any speed” gave the car a negative review which sealed it's fate. Nader described the car as a deadly vehicle to travel in, and he highlighted it's numerous flaws. Some of the flaws included confusing tyre pressure needs and dangerous steering wheels. After this, the manufacturer ceased production in 1969.
The Yugo GV was a product of Yugoslavia which entered the US market in 1984. GV actually stood for great value. It however did not live up to it's name as it was unable to travel for 50,000 miles without a belt breaking and the subsequent destruction of the engine. The vehicle’s construction was so terrible that it experienced breakage and rattling off of parts whilst in motion.
It's fate was sealed when one was allegedly blown off a bridge in a gust of wind which other vehicles were able to withstand. This incident in 1989 marked the end of the car.
Briggs & Stratton Flyer
The vehicle made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for being the most inexpensive car in history. This is probably why the manufacturer built it without any safety features such as a windshield and doors. In addition, it had zero crash protection; it actually looked more like a golf cart than a car.
The Briggs & Stratton Flyer was available from 1915 – 1925 and it had a Red Bug model in 1922 that went for about £125. It had a wooden frame with only two seats without a chassis, doors, or windshield.
This car had the ‘Flintstones’ look with a glass bubble top. It was a tiny micro car with three wheels. It's advertising slogan was ‘almost cheaper than walking’ and it was on the market for just a year, in 1966, with only 45 units produced. It's design and manufacture was said to be on the Isle of Man.
It has been dubbed as one of the most dangerous cars ever manufactured. It was so small that there was no room to install any safety features. The top glass bubble exposed drivers to sunlight and put them at risk of severe injury by flying glass in the event of accidents.
This car was alleged to have caused 660 deaths in the years between 1978 and 1986. It is said that the vehicle shifted into gear and even accelerated on it's own leaving the driver at it's mercy; 1380 such incidents were reported.
Four years after it was released, Volkswagen recalled the vehicle citing faulty floor mats. After the issue of the mats was addressed, the accidents still continued, leading to the issue of automatic acceleration and gear shifting being addressed. After too many dangerous incidents, VW installed safety locks on all Audi 5000s in the market to stop the auto-drive. It is now mandatory for all vehicles to have shift locks.
This vehicle’s second generation version was, allegedly, the cause of 89 deaths as a result of unintentional acceleration between 2005 and 2010. This was, however, not it's only fault as it also had wiring issues that led to disabling of airbags, the driver’s seat was unstable when the car was moving, the frame had insufficient safety features, and to top it all, the seatbelt pads caught fire in crashes.
With more deaths occurring and lawsuit's piling up, 8.5 million vehicles all over the world were recalled. The most notable death was of a young girl who was killed on her way to a graduate class.
This car was said to have killed 125 people and injured 274 more before it was recalled. The model that came out between 2005 – 2008 had faulty airbags. Other faults included inadequate trim padding, power steering issues, and fuel leaks. The most serious of all was faulty switches that cut power to the engine whilst driving and deactivated the airbags.
In 2009, a young girl driving a new Cobalt crashed into a tree when the vehicle abruptly shut down leaving her helpless with no airbags for protection. In 2014, GM recalled 700,000 Cobalts when the accidents which were attributed to faulty switches continued.
The Samurai came to the US in 1985 as a Japanese product. It had a rugged sporty look that intrigued Americans. However, it did not live up to it's expectations as it was claimed to be faulty; it allegedly easily rolled over in turns. The Samurai was in the states from 1986-1995 but still managed to, again allegedly, cause 213 deaths and about 8,200 injuries.
The company sued Consumer Reports for giving the car a bad review leading to a drastic drop in sales, though it settled over 200 injury and wrongful death lawsuits.
The car was seen as the future of sports cars due to it's hidden headlights and fiberglass side panels. The two-door vehicle had 260 cases reported where the engine burst into flames as a result of it running hot and leaking oil. Another cause of the fires was faulty wiring and poor coolant features. One engine caught fire even when test driving!
The company could not handle the many bad reviews on this vehicle and therefore had to cease production in 1988 as the car got a reputation for going up in flames.