Cars That Were Complete Sales Flops


American’s number one selling vehicle, the Ford F-150, the tuner car hero, the R35 GT-R, and even the electric Tesla Model 3 were all unanimously blockbuster hits. But then, there are just some cars that automakers would love for us to forget about. Ones that were only a V8 away from making a real dent in the automotive industry, or were just a little too mischevious for their own good.

Yes, these are the 4 biggest sales flops, plus a dishonorable mention, that you may have already forgotten about, but I’m here to remind you how bad things once were. The last rig on this list… one look and you’ll know exactly why it didn’t make it! 

Plymouth Prowler

purple Plymouth Prowler
Mecum Auctions

Screw saving the best for last! We all knew that the Plymouth Prowler was going to make it on the list, and here it is in all of its retro-styled glory! This modern day hot rod design that for some reason Chrysler thought we all needed felt like a parts bin special

First off, you guys remember this car? It’s the Dodge Intrepid with the 3.5-liter V6. And guess what, the same underwhelming powerplant can be found in Prowler. Because nothing says muscle car like… a V6? Plus, on the interior, the door handles are from the Viper, as with the gauges, all the HVAC controls from the Dodge Neon, even the plastic vents are pulled from the Town & Country minivan. It’s just a mishmash of parts from a bunch of different cars!

And what was Chrysler thinking giving us a “muscle car” with almost zero performance thanks to it having only 214 horsepower to play with, and an antiquated 4-speed automatic transmission? Muscle cars are about going fast and the fun of driving. The Prowler wasn’t about either of those.

Now, the Prowler was Chrysler’s sad attempt to follow up the absolutely bonkers Dodge Viper! And it wasn’t all bad. The Indy racer-style front wheels are like nothing else! Plus, by mounting the transmission in the rear, they facilitated a desirable 50/50 weight distribution. And, mid-cycle refresh to the engine gave the 3.5-liter high-output 253 horses, which was higher than the Magnum V8 of the early 2000’s.

But the Prowler was pretty much dead on arrival, with only 11,702 people willing to cough up the roughly $40,000 it took to get into this automotive flop. Miraculously, there’s still a market for them, because the cheapest one I could find for sale is still pushing $20,000!

Oh, and one last thing. Those roll bar-looking things behind the seats are just for looks. So, if you’re unfortunate enough to be in a rollover accident in this bathtub-styled jalopy, you’re totally f***ed.

Pontiac Aztek

yellow Pontiac Aztek
GM Authority

You think it’d be tough to do worse than the Prowler, but Pontiac wasn’t done! Meet the Pontiac Aztek, possibly the ugliest thing to ever sit on four wheels. This was one of the first mid-size crossovers to come to market. It was hyped up by GM, but it ended up being one of the biggest failures in automotive history! Which doesn’t make much sense, considering some of the best GM designers were working on it, including Tom Peters, who was the director of exterior design for GM at the time and later went on to design two of Ideal Media’s fan favorites: the in-your-face C6 Corvette and the modern marvel C7 Corvette.

So, how did this monstrosity happen? The main issue was no one designer had the final say. So, the turn signals being completely separated from the headlights was one person’s idea, while the two-tone paint with gray plastic molding was another person’s idea. Each in their own right were cool ideas! But mix them together on the shortened Pontiac Montana minivan platform, and all you really get is an eyesore!

Yeah, it’s been said it’s one of the ugliest vehicles to come out of Detroit! And the public seemed to agree. GM thought they would sell 75,000 Aztecs per year, and just to break even they needed to produce 30,000 annually. In 2002, which was their best year, they only sold 27,793 with an MSRP of $23,000! Yeah… no bueno! 

Now, you can find one like this ugly duckling thats a bargain for $550, or as low as $10 per month! And if it weren’t for Walter White in the hit Breaking Bad TV series, which ended up causing a resurgence of interest in this ugly duckling, we probably all would have forgotten about this hideous four-door crossover years ago. Oh, and one more thing. Doesn’t the Aztek have a striking resemblance to the Cybertruck?

Subaru SVX

Subaru SVX

The Subaru SVX was… how do I put this nicely… a different kind of sports car. SVX is an acronym for Subaru Vehicle X, and it was introduced at a time when the Japanese automaker was trying to find itself. Plus, it had most of the iconic components that make a Subaru a Subaru: confidence-inspiring all-wheel drive, a boxer motor that, even without a little turbski, still managed to push out a remarkable 231 horsepower, plus, Subaru hired design firm Italdesign, who’s produced incredible works of art like the BMW M1 and the Maserati Bora.

And although the slippery styling of the final product had a drag coefficient that would make supercars jealous and a window-in-window design feature like something you’d see on fighter jets, unfortunately, this fighter jet was no Top Gun for Subaru. And it’s most likely because of the direct competition to the SVX, which was the tech-forward Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4 and the classic but always relevant Porsche 911 Carrera 4. That’s a tough crowd!

The SVX just couldn’t keep up with the competition And that wasn’t only due to it’s slow-shifting 4-slushbox of a transmission, but it’s high MSRP of $24,000. But nowadays, you can snag one of these puppies for under $3,000. But i don’t know why you’d want to! It was a good effort, but realistically, this ultra-slow-selling Subie never had a fighting chance in the luxury and performance car market!

Chrysler Crossfire

Silver Chrysler Crossfire on the road

Hey! Do you remember how bad the Plymouth Prowler was? Well, it’s successor, the Chrysler Crossfire, wanted to one-up it’s older brother! If you close one eye and squint with the other, you’ll be able to see that the Crossfire is about 80% mid-2000’s Mercedes-Benz SLK Roadster. Yeah, about four-fifths of the components used on Chrysler’s rear-wheeldrive two-seat sports car are from Daimler-Benz! Which is a bummer, because it had all sorts of potential

First off, the heartbeat is a Mercedes-Benz 3.2-liter V6 that managed a measly 215 horses. But, if you opted for the SRT-6 model, Chrysler slapped on a supercharger built by their friends at AMG, which was good for 330 tire-shredding horsepowers! Yet, Chrysler’s German-built flagship model was short-lived. One of the main reasons was it’s less-than-confidence-inspiring recirculating ball steering system. Hello? Sporty platforms are supposed to excel in the twisties! The Chrysler Crossfire was just never sure footed!

Plus, there was a gamut of mechanical and electrical issues, and since it was essentially a German car in American clothing, Chrysler dealerships didn’t have the tools necessary to fix the car when it was new. So, turnaround times on repairs were extra long, something Tesla owners know something about, and you can learn about on our Ideal video about Horrible Cars You’ll Regret The INSTANT You Buy!

Thankfully, Chrysler put the Crossfire out of its misery after just five years, and we can just chalk it up as just one more of Chrysler’s many misfires. But with all that said, the nearly $50,000 MSRP supercharged 330-horse SRT-6 is now getting to tempting prices. Drift car anyone? So, if you’d like to learn how to snag an Ideal car that’s not the SRT-6 for an Ideal price the right way, check out the Ideal Car Strategies!

Chevrolet SSR

red Chervrolet SSR on pavement
Car and Driver

In theory, the Chevrolet SSR made a lot of sense. In the early 2000’s, manufacturers were coming out with retro-styled cars like that awful Plymouth Prowler, which was a nod to the ultra-cool 1932 roadster, the masterpiece known as the BMW Z8 Roadster, a contemporary play on this 508 Roadster, and Ford’s 2000 Thunderbird, which was inspired by the classic 50’s T-Bird.

Chevy wanted to get into the retro game, and since they were selling a ton of pickup trucks, their knee-jerk reaction was this… um… hot-rodded, convertible pickup truck-slash-sports car thing with a V8 shoehorned in under the hood for good measure. Hey, at least they got the engine right. The SSR, which stands for Super Sport Roadster, came with an LS2 V8 with 395 horsepower from the C6 ‘Vette and an optional 6-speed manual. Plus, its 0 to 60 times were on par with a Nissan 350Z. But the interior, with only 2 seats, was a bit cramped. And if you wanted to use it like a pickup… forget about it.

The SSR was too much of a pickup for sports car enthusiasts, and too much of a sports car for pickup folks, and the $40,000 starter price tag was more than most baby boomers will willing to throw down on this rig. And nowadays, you can find them for about a quarter of their starting price. The Chevy SSR was an overpriced toy that most people in the car scene couldn’t believe Chevy built. And although only a few people bought them, if you want a unique neck breaker, the Chevy SSR might be an Ideal deal at this point. Wait, who are we kidding? Did you know that for the same price you could buy a Ferrari


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