Some cars sell and some cars don’t. In fact, some cars continue to sell even though no one actually really likes them. prius with my face masked into it
So today, let’s look at some cars that nobody bought even though they should’ve. And getting straight into this, let’s take a look at a car that flopped not just once but twice, and that’s the Dodge Viper.
#1 Dodge Viper
From the first-generation death trap of a car to the final version of the ACR that decimated production car track records across the US, there’s a lot to love and hate about the Dodge Viper.
But the thing is, it’s objectively a great car in terms of performance, with every generation of the Viper outputting numbers that rival many supercars from its hilariously massive V10 engine.
Well, if there is much good about this engine, how exactly did it end up on this list? Well, because no one bought it.
Now obviously, somebody bought the Viper because they continued to sell them from 1991 to 2010, but it never actually sold that well, especially in comparison to what is arguably its closest competitor that’s now basically everywhere you go in the US: the Corvette.
On paper, though, it had everything going for it. A sleek design with a pretty decent interior. Over 400hp in the first-gen Viper, a ridiculous 600hp in the fourth-gen Viper. And an exhaust note so polarizing it makes modern politics look like a cakewalk.
After bad sales forced Dodge to quit selling the Viper in 2010, they brought it back in 2013 with a new generation that launched the Viper into the future with a much-improved design and a ridiculous 640hp.
Unfortunately, though, that wasn’t enough to stop the Viper from flopping a second time, with the fifth generation being killed off in 2017, although many speculate Dodge couldn’t get the car to meet safety regulations, and that’s the real reason they killed it off.
#2 Lexus LFA
The Lexus LFA is a supercar that was first introduced in 2010, and when it first came out, there was nothing like it before, and really, there hasn’t been anything like it since.
It has all of Toyota’s reliability but it was designed to compete with cars like the Ferrari 458 and Lamborghini Gallardo. Honestly, the LFA is a true masterpiece, with a unique blend of style, performance, and technology.
The real reason the LFA is special is thanks to what’s under the hood. A high-revving, lightweight powerhouse of a naturally aspirated 4.8L V10 producing 552 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque.
And best of all, the exhaust system was tuned by Toyota’s favorite business partner ever, Yamaha. And even better, the entire car is made almost entirely of carbon fiber. In fact, the entire chassis of the LFA is made from a single piece of carbon fiber, which is the first for a production car.
So what’s the deal? Why didn’t it sell, then?
First, the LFA was always meant to be produced in very limited numbers. The complex structure of this car was very difficult to produce. And then, because of the amount of research and development this car took, the price had to be absurdly high at $375,000.
The result of this is about 500 units of sales, which is crazy considering just how good this car really is. Seriously, it should’ve sold more, and if Lexus can bring the LFA back at a better price point, count me a fan.
I would say count me a buyer, but you know, I’m just a YouTuber. I don’t have that kind of money.
#3 Chevy SSR
I want you to imagine a car by Chevy that combines the performance of something like the Corvette with the usefulness of a Silverado.
I mean seriously. A two-door car with a pickup truck bed and a V8 engine under the hood?
How could this possibly not sell we… Oh, yea, that car.
Yup. That’s the Chevy SSR. A weird car that seemingly has all the right ingredients to sell well in the US market but just simply flopped instead.
One reason for the SSR’s poor sales performance was its high price. GM marketed it as a premium product and the price reflected that at a starting price of $42,000, which was simply too much for most prospective buyers in the truck market.
On top of that, the SSR was pretty bad on practicality. Yes, it has a truck bed, but it’s only a two-seater. And it’s not like you’re going to be able to do any really heavy work with that bed. It’s more or less going to be used at the grocery store.
And most importantly, this car didn’t sell well because, well, it’s ugly as shit. Seriously. This car looks terrible. The retro design could’ve been done much better, and frankly, it looks way too much like a truck to be sold as a car.
But it also doesn’t have the real capability of a truck. So it’s just a car that looks like a truck but doesn’t actually do truck things.
#4 Fisker Karma
Next up on the list is everyone’s favorite car with a massive mustache, the Fisker Karma.
Now this is a big ole sedan of a plug-in hybrid sports car that was produced by Fisker Automotive from 2011 to 2012.
The Karma is by far most known for its polarizing design and somehow reverse aged and looks like a car that could still be sold new today in 2023.
And it made a big splash when it was first released, with an advanced powertrain that used a GM 2.0L engine as a range extender for the electric system, but unfortunately, that didn’t stop the production issues effectively strangling Fisker into financial doom, and the company running out of money.
And for the Karma’s that did get through production, they were later a problem with pretty severe quality control issues and reliability.
So yea, the Karma was a beautiful car that made a big splash and could’ve turned into a true competitor to the powerhouse that is now Tesla.
Despite its relatively short lifespan, the Fisker Karma remains a notable vehicle in the history of electric and hybrid vehicles.
It’s advanced powertrain and distinctive design helped to pave the way for other eco-friendly luxury vehicles, and Karma continues to be admired for its unique combination of performance and sustainability.
I seriously wish this car sold more because, despite it’s electric drivetrain, this thing made some seriously cool noises.
#5 Pontiac GTO
Alright, I want you to imagine an American car with two doors, rear-wheel drive, and V8 in the front.
How could something like this possibly not sell in America? I mean, cmon. Well, that takes us to Pontiac GTO.
And no, we’re not talking about the old GTO, which somehow had four generations within its initial run from 1963 to 1974.
While that’s an awesome car, it’s not on this list because, well, it actually sold decently well.
That is compared to the 2003 to 2006 Pontiac GTO, which was probably Pontiac’s most unexpected flop in its history.
The really important of the fifth generation GTO is the powertrain, which depending on the year, was either the 5.7L LS1 or the 6.0L LS2, both of which offered pretty impressive performance at 350hp and 400hp, respectively.
In addition to its impressive performance, the fifth-gen GTO was also loaded with a premium sound system, leather interior, and other luxury features that you’d not normally see in a muscle car.
All of which really helped the GTO stand out from the Mustang, Camaro, and so on.
But despite its great looks and fantastic performance, it just didn’t sell well. And although I’ll call the GTO a good-looking car, a lot of people won’t, which is part of the reason it didn’t sell.
And besides that, Pontiac marketed it as a luxury sports car rather than a muscle car, which gave it a weird perception in the first place.
Regardless, the fifth-generation GTO had a short life from 2003 to 2006, and I’d love to buy one if they weren’t so expensive. Seriously though. Why are good GTOs like 20 grand? Someone make it make sense.
#6 DeLorean DMC-12
Automotive history is filled with iconic cars but few are more iconic than the DeLorean DMC-12, with its crazy styling, rear-engined layout, gull-wing doors, unforgettable feature in Back to the Future, and a company owner who notoriously sold some pretty serious drugs in an attempt to scrape together cash and keep his company afloat.
So why is it on this list, then? Well, you already know, it’s because it didn’t and it really should’ve.
I mean seriously. It had all the attention required to rocket through the roof, but it just didn’t happen for a variety of reasons.
For one, the manufacturing process was plagued by delays, cost overruns, and quality control issues.
And those issues were then further compounded by DeLorean’s decision to build a factory in Northern Ireland, which just added further complications with the IRA doing IRA things.
All of this was made even worse by John DeLorean’s high-profile lifestyle and objectively bad financial practices, which then prompted the alleged cocaine trafficking operation.
Although John DeLorean was eventually acquitted of all charges, the damage to his reputation and the company’s image was irreparable.
Although ironically, it was also great for marketing because here we are 40 years later, still talking about this car.
Despite significant investment from the British government and celebrity endorsements, the car’s high price tag and mixed reviews ultimately killed it entirely, with the company filing for bankruptcy in October of 1982, after just 9,000 units of the DMC-12 were built.
#7 Chevy SS
Now this next car on the list, I cannot believe, flopped the way it did, and I would definitely buy one myself if they weren’t so unbelievably expensive, and that’s the Chevy SS. And no, not the Camaro SS, but literally just the SS. What a strange name for a car.
Anyways, this car is a rebranded Holden Commodore, which is a pretty popular Australian sedan with a reputation for performance while hauling around your entire family.
Under the hood is the same engine you’ll find in a few different GM applications, including the Corvette and the Camaro, the LS3, outputting 415hp and 415lb-ft of torque.
But somehow, this bad-ass borderline super sedan didn’t sell. But why? Its got the looks, its got the LS3, and its got a decent interior, so what gives?
Well, part of the issue is that GM really didn’t market it much at all. In fact, they practically forgot about it compared to their other cars with big marketing campaigns.
Another problem is that the US market for high-performance sedans was already dominated by the BMW M3 and M5, the Dodge Charger, Mercedes AMG cars, and so on.
So, if GM wanted to do well in this market, they’d need a great car with a massive marketing campaign, and as we mentioned, they didn’t follow through on the marketing part.
And lastly, the SS was also pretty expensive, with a starting price of $47,000, which was more than its closest competitor, the Dodge Charger R/T.
On top of that, when the SS was offered new here in the States, consumers really shifted over to buying crossovers and small SUVs in droves, which left the sedan market high and dry.
If anyone from GM is watching this, can you please bring Holden back from the dead and give us a Commodore Ute please? I know GM’s last try at selling a pickup car didn’t end well, but please, I’m dying to own one of these things.
#8 Subaru Baja
Today we are in 2023 and people still defend Subarus as good cars, even when they routinely explode at 300whp.
God, I love hating on Subarus. And the Subaru we’re here to look at now is the Subaru Baja, a mishmash blend of a Sedan, Wagon, and truck all in one, neatly packaged with Subaru’s iconic 2.5L bomb, I mean engine.
Seriously though, the Subaru Baja is actually a cool idea on paper. I mean seriously. It’s a sedan with a small pickup bed and all-wheel drive. But, if the cars earlier in the video were any indication as to how well the Subaru Baja sold, you’d know it probably didn’t go well.
This car was based on the popular Outback platform, and as we mentioned, it features Subaru’s legendary all-wheel-drive system and a pretty tall suspension from the factory for improved off-road capability.
And while the styling is rather unique, many people would rather call it ugly, myself included. I’m sorry, this is just a funky-looking car. But to be fair, most Subarus are kind of funky looking. That’s part of Subaru’s brand identity.
But the rather unconventional styling may have deterred potential buyers who were looking for a more conventional design of either a truck or a sedan.
But despite the Baja having a truck bed, its cargo capacity was super limited in comparison to traditional pickup trucks, like the F150 or Silverado. Keep in mind we saw this exact same issue with the Chevy SSR and its cargo capacity.
And the most important part of selling any car is offering it at a good price relative to the prospective value in terms of comfort, capability, performance, and so on, which the Baja frankly didn’t deliver on, with a starting price similar to that of true pickup trucks, which again, made it a hard sell.
All of that led up to the Baja not selling nearly as well as it should’ve and lasting from 2003 to 2006 before Subaru came to its senses and put the Baja to rest.
#9 Lincoln Blackwood
Last but certainly not least is yet another truck. This one, though seriously, should’ve sold well, but instead completely flopped harder than anyone would’ve imagined, and that’s the Lincoln Blackwood.
Now for all intents and purposes, this truck is really just a redesigned and rebadged Ford F150, which at the time, was Ford’s best-selling vehicle by a long shot. And the entire idea was to take their F150 and make it much nicer in an attempt to enter the luxury pickup truck market.
And it brought unique features to match, with a distinctive exterior design covered in only black paint, matched with chrome accents, and a unique bed cover made of faux wood paneling.
But that bed cover was already the first of many things that deterred potential buyers. I mean seriously. Why would they give this thing a pickup truck bed and then ruin its capabilities with a bed cover that was hard to remove?
On top of that, they completely left out anyone who wants to get stuff done where the pavement ends by only offering this truck in two-wheel drive. Seriously though, with a starting price of around $52,000, how on earth could they justify leaving it two-wheel drive?
But on a more serious note, the Blackwood offered similar luxury features to trucks like the Cadillac Escalade EXT and the GMC Sierra Denali.
But those competitors offered an arguably more balanced combination of luxury and utility, making it difficult for the Lincoln Blackwood to make a name for itself in this market.
The Lincoln Blackwood serves as a reminder that even a well-executed idea, such as a luxury truck based on the F150, may not guarantee success if it doesn’t offer the capabilities that many prospective buyers require.
Also, charging 52 grand for a two-wheel drive truck is borderline criminal.
Anyways the Blackwood completely flopped, with just 3,356 units produced in its only production year in the US.