Overall, 2011 was a good year for the auto industry. Ford had huge profits, Volkswagen opened a billion dollar plant in Tennessee and the government got paid back some of the money it put out to save GM and Chrysler. Lots of good news all around but that doesn’t mean everything was rosie.
Fiat’s great return to the US market with widely heralded 500 was generally regarded as a flop. Americans didn’t take to it like they did to the Mini, which was the 500’s target. Fiat had an initial sales target of 50,000 units in 2011. As of the end of November, barely 20,000 had been sold.
Honda’s halo lost a bit of its glow in 2011 also. With the elimination of the sport S2000 and Acura’s NSX, the company no longer had any high performance cars in its line-up. They came under fire for corporate complacency and offering boring cars throughout their range. Add reduced parts availability due to the tsunami into the mix and 2011 is a year that Honda would like to forget.
My vote for the biggest automotive failure for 2011 is the Chevrolet Volt. I know corporate hired guns and government moles have been touting it since its announcement a few years ago but, in reality, it's just a mild evolutionary step up from a hybrid. On top of that, there was a whole fiasco about the possibility of them catching on fire in the event of a side impact. All in all, Chevy out-Priused Toyota, and that’s not a good thing.
What do you think was the biggest automotive failure of 2011?