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The 10 Worst Car Brands in History

When you review automobile history, some car brands have made the world question the thought process behind several of their car designs. A few of these car brands have been notorious for producing bad vehicles, ranked based on how bad the vehicle models in question were globally and whether or not these companies are still in production.

Those closer to ten are still producing, but those labeled as the worst have fallen either to other companies or altogether. Here's a look at our picks for the worst car brands in history (with their most failed vehicle). 

10. Ford - The Infamous Ford Pinto

While Ford is still an active and thriving car brand in western countries, it is one of the worst car brands in history because of a few car designs since the Model T.

The biggest regret of Ford Motor Company was the Ford Pinto, a compact car that was very different from other models at the time. Unfortunately, the Ford Pinto was known to be the most dangerous vehicle in history because of the fuel tank.

If someone were in an accident with this vehicle, the Pinto would burst into flames because of the insecurities in the fuel tank.

The Ford Edsel was another model meant to stand out as a mid-economy option but was over-glorified by the company. This model was hyped up by the Ford Motor Company to be the next big thing but flopped just a few years later.

9. Suzuki - X90 Model

For decades, Suzuki sold cheap, compact, and poorly designed vehicles across the globe. Today, you cannot purchase a Suzuki in North America because the models progressively worsen with time. Even as the car industry began to shift to more compact designs, Suzuki continued to fail safety tests and mechanical tests.

The quality and reliability of this brand has forced it to only sell cars in certain parts of the world, like India and Japan, where the price of the Suzuki is worth purchasing. The worst Suzuki model was the x90, and like many of the different Suzuki models, there were many issues with the timing chain and extensive engine failures.

8. Fiat Motors - Multipla

Gaining its popularity as a compact coupe, Fiat does not rate well in terms of safety. It is known for its small size, limiting the number of safety measures in this vehicle.

Other small coupes competitors have found ways to improve safety, while Fiat has not made many advancements. Reliability is another concern, as many owners express issues with the brand once it reaches 30,000 miles. Fortunately, there are not as many mechanical issues as technology-based and navigation issues plaguing this brand.

7. Quandt Group - Amphicar

Over in Germany, the historical Amphicar Model 770 was made in the 1960s, a hybrid between car and boat. While it failed miserably as an automobile, it did make history, with only a few thousand built over the decade.

This model began to fizzle out with mechanical problems on the automobile part of the car. The Amphicar did use front wheel steering even on water, which wore down the front axles pretty quickly and had issues with the overall steering.

6. American Motors - Gremlin

For several decades, American Motors, or AMC was a large car brand that developed some pretty poor car designs. One of those has become a pop culture icon, the Gremlin. was actually a very hard vehicle to ride in, especially for long commutes.

There was limited to no suspension in the rear, so the gears would feel choppy as they shifted. It was also very loud, with a large six-cylinder engine in the front, so you could hear it coming long before you saw it.

This wasn't the only bad design, though. The Pacer was meant to give more space to passengers with asymmetrical doors, but the reality was that anything stored in the back would fall out once that door was opened.

5. Triumph Motor Company - Triumph Stag

While the design of the Triumph Stag wasn't responsible for its fall, poor engineering on behalf of Triumph Motor Company was responsible for this model and others failing over time.

The long timing chain was slowly rowed in the engine and needed to be replaced almost every other year. If the chain happened to break before it could be replaced, the damage would extend to other parts and the pistons in the engine would need to be repaired in addition to a new break.

The Stag truly became more trouble than it was worth. The Stag was short-lived and Triumph Motor Company stopped production of all models in the early 2000s.

4. Morgan Motor Company - Plus 8 Propane

While trying to maintain competition with other growing motor companies, the Plus 8 Propane model of 1975 caused the Morgan Motor Company to bow out after this model's failure.

Not long after purchasing one of the Plus 8 Propane models, pools of propane would paddle behind the rear bumper and cause extensive mechanical issues. They had the right spirit to move to propane and seek out a different fuel source, but the execution was not ideal, and the new emission requirements were enough to stop all production.

3. Trabant - 1975 Trabant

A small motor company out of East Germany, they only produced models of their compact designs. From the first day of production to the time they closed, Trabant did not make any improvements to the different models, and they all started having the same issues of excess exhaust.

Throughout the years that these cars were produced, they never went any faster than 60 mph and did not carry essentials such as seatbelts and turn signals. As other car brands continued to advance over the years, Trabant fell behind until they finally fell off the list of competitors.

2. Smart GmbH - ForTwo Smart Car

The irony of the Smart Car that came into production in the early 2000s is that it wasn't very smart. It was a short-lived production but created a lot of buzz as one of the most compact car options.

The ForTwo Smart car was the most popular model, which wasn't much bigger than a golf cart. Only two seats were installed, and the best thing about this car was the great gas mileage it got when gas prices were on the rise. Everything else about this car, however, was dangerous and just not smart at all. There were no real safety features, and injuries were expected in all accidents.

1. Zastava Motors - The Yugo

For many countries worldwide, the Yugo, produced by Zastava Motors, is probably the worst car in history, making Zastava Motors one of the worst car brands. Eventually, production was sold to Fiat Motors, also on this list. This small designed car housed a large V8 engine but was made with very cheap materials. Wear and tear on the Yugo began immediately after purchasing and continued deteriorating.

Despite having this oversized mother, the Yugo was very slow and had a rough ride, making it a true example of getting what you pay for. The only draw to purchasing a Yugo was its price point. The amount of repair and fuel costs would make up for that later over time.

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Benjamin Smith

Written by Benjamin Smith

Benjamin Smith is one of the managing editors of Moneyinc. Ben's been focusing on the auto and motorcycle sector since 2005. He's written over 1000 articles in the space and continues to learn about it each day. His favorite car is "any Bugatti" and he's a die hard Harley Davidson fan.

Read more posts by Benjamin Smith

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