The Worst Cars in History (Ford Pinto, Tata Nano, Maserati)

Get READY for the Worst Cars in the World from India, USA, Russia, Italy, France, and many others.

With expectations sky high, car manufacturers are expected to bring the latest innovative features to their cars at rock bottom prices. This has led to disasterous consequences, lives lost and billions of dollars wiped away from the world's economy, as manufacturers in a bid to compete with international imports, cut corners and made monumental sacrifices that backfired on the consumer.

1.  The Explosive Ford Pinto 

Of course what I'm alluding to is the infamous Ford Pinto, advertised as a car that was "quality built and import priced" that would "put a little kick in your life". Sounds great? Indeed, that's what Ford Vice President, Lee Iacocca thought, who pushed Ford's design department to create a subcompact car in just a couple of months to compete against cheaper Japanese imports. 

Ford Pinto 1971
Ford Pinto - "Put a Little Kick in your Life"
Due to a rushed and cheaply made design, the fuel tank was placed at the back of the car, so when collided into, the car's back would crumple. Fuel would gush from the engine and the hot exhaust would light the petrol, causing a fire to ravage the car and its occupants. 180 people died, and Ford was forced to pay hundreds of millions in compensatory damages. 

Did Ford know about this issue before the car was released? Yes. Did they know it would cause deaths? Yes. Indeed, in memos that were released to the court, Ford's accounting department had factored that into a cost benefit equation. It went something like this, if Ford recalled the Pinto's it would cost them $1.07 billion, BUT if they simply released the car as is, then the deaths and injuries caused would only amount to $384 million in compensatory payouts. Alas, Ford released it anyway! What they probably didn't consider was the PR nightmare that would precede, as negative headlines would associate the Ford name with unreliability, danger and corporate greed.

2.  The Firey Tata Nano

Yes! Add the whole family!
Manufacured by India's famous Tata Motors, the car was advertised as the "cheapest car in the world," armed with just one side mirror, windscreen wiper, manual windup window, and a two cylinder engine.  No radio or CD player, air conditioning or airbags. Touted as the "people's car" it was aimed to move India and motivate the public to put down their motorcycles and invest in a $2,000 car. The problem? The banjo bolt or coupler that delivers petrol to the engine was cheaply made and poorly attached and due its positioning, if petrol were to leak, it would do so on the engine block. Due to the heat of the engine, the petrol would ignite and fire would begin to consume the dashboard. 

Tata Motors whilst intially denied the problem and labelled it as an "isolated incident" would eventually retire the car for good. What happened? Well, this can be blamed by excessive demand. When announced in 2009 (following the recession), the car garnered 203,000 orders, not enough for Tata's current facilities to manage, so they hastily hired and trained new employees to build the car in a separate facility. With overhead cut to a minimum to satisfy the car's rock bottom price, quality control standards disappeared and faulty models slipped through the cracks.  

3.  The Tyresome Ford Explorer

Fords foray into the modern SUV craze in the early nineties would lead the company to repeat history, a history that had already been christened by its Ford Pinto. The Ford Explorer was a vehicle riddled with cost cutting. The second-generation model was merely a rehash of the last where Ford modified the old car through bodging and various other means. 

Hits a little different now.
These decisions led to Ford having to decrease tyre pressures from 30psi to 26psi to reduce the cars likelihood of rolling over. As the car was still likely to roll in a hard turn, Ford then decided to make the roof out of thinner metal, like bloody tissue paper it was. The roof had absolutely no strength at all and made the car as safe as a convertable in a rollover. That decision to reduce tyre pressures led to the Firestone tyres to overheat and disintegrate at high speeds. Coupled with Firestone's own issues, worker strikes, corner cutting and new management (now owned by Bridgestone), the firm was providing Ford below quality products. One for every 2,700 Explorers (1990 - 2001) rolled and killed at least one person in the car. In the next 10 years of release, Ford would settle more than $1 billion of personal injury claims. 

There is evidence to suggest that both companies were privy but its extraordinary Ford would allow themselves to repeat what they had fifteen years earlier.

4. The Smoky Lada Samara

I feel sorry for Lada, sorry because their last Russian made and designed car released in the west was met with ridicule and disdain. 

Yeah but at what cost?
When it came to Australia, it first had to be gutted and modified so it legally met Australian vehicle codes and could be sold in showrooms. Even so, the car remained woefully unreliable and fell apart. Over in Europe, the vehicle was laughed at by the English motoring press who asserted the only positive of the vehicle is that you could “stand out from the crowd,” the car had appalling build quality and driving dynamic and was “crude in every aspect”. Reviewers at the time struggled to find anything positive to mention about the vehicle as even the paintwork differed in finishes on adjacent panels, panel gaps were huge, and the side decals were peeling and had air bubbles beneath. The engines were grossly underpowered and harped back to a time when Stalin was dictator and people starved through famine. Despite the Stone Age engineering, poor build quality, ponderous handling the car still wasn’t all that cheap. The Skoda Favorit at the time was the same price and yet it was better in every way from ride, handling, build quality, reliability and so on. The Samara was left in the dust by the Skoda and it's perhaps why today Skoda continues to be sold whereas Lada is really only available in the second world.

5. The Messy Maserati Quattroporte

With Maserati as the nameplate, you would assume the vehicle would be quite reasonable but this was not so. The car was riddled with reliability and quality issues, it really was a mess. The car was also very expensive, it was similarly sized to a BMW 5 Series and had similarly powered engines but cost twice as much, with the company asserting that you’re paying for heritage and a name that means something. I have no idea what that something was, perhaps they were referring to the car being a recycle of the last, having engines with all the refinement and smoothness of a prison warden, all wrapped up in a vehicle that looked as if it was put together by heroin addict in the midst of a detox. The car was slower, more expensive, and smaller than the BMW M5 or Audi S6 of the period whilst offering nothing more than its competitors thus the vehicle sold very poorly. 

Throughout its life the car only sold 2,400 units, to put that into perspective the Ferrari F360 sold over 16,000 vehicles over its life despite costing substantially more than the Maserati.

Video Written by Luis Burgos AND 
Video Edited & Article Summary above by VLACO (Alex)

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