Epic Fails on the Road to Perfecting the Motor Vehicle

Published on: 08 June 2015

Failure is not something that we’re fond of, especially when it comes to motor vehicles. When we think about choosing a new car, or we think about our old, reliable 4x4 in the garage, faults and flaws are not exactly comforting.

From the time that the motor vehicle was first designed to the more modern designs of the 21st century, the industry has seen a handful of memorable nose-dives. Despite the progress that the motor industry has made in recent years, there are still manufacturers who initiate safety call-backs on luxury vehicles. However, until that call is made, car owners are unaware of the faults, which is why it is best to arm yourself with reliable and efficient car insurance in the event of a safety glitch.

Terrifying as it may be, these safety anomalies are few and far between and are often only found during the testing phase of new vehicles. Over the years, and on the road to perfecting the motor vehicle, manufacturers and designers alike have made a handful of blunders that have led to a number of epic fails.

Here are a handful of epic fails that occurred on the road to perfecting the motor vehicle:

Volvo Self-driving Car: Brake Test Failure

In May 2015, one of Volvo’s self-driving wonder vehicles happened to plough into a group of onlookers.

Praised for its state-of-the-art design and technology, Volvo’s self-driving vehicles are predicted to take the lead in self-drive automation. The luxury brand also hopes to have more than 100 self-driving vehicles on Swedish roads by 2020.

The unfortunate incident, which was controlled, took place in a parking garage where the owner of the vehicle dictated its movement with a remote control. However, instead of stopping for pedestrians, the vehicle made its way (at speed) into the crowd. When contacted for comment, the spokesperson for Volvo mentioned that the owner of the vehicle had failed to buy the “pedestrian detection functionality” which is sold separately and goes for about $3,000. By the way, the onlookers were apparently “bruised, but ok”.

DeLorean DMC-12: Design Failure

In an effort to create a super car that is worthy of international spies and agents, John DeLorean created a vehicle that would change the face of cinema - and not much else.

The car became widely known and iconic for its appearance as a modified time machine in the Back to the Future film trilogy.

Sadly, the vehicle seemed like a grand idea on paper but its manufacture took a bit of a knock – due to the car requiring almost complete reengineering due to unproven material and manufacturing techniques.

To add insult to injury, albeit the vehicle’s V6-engine, it took the car more than 10.5 seconds to go from 0 – 100 k/h (a sad and measly effort for a sports car).

Pontiac Aztek: Disappointing Aesthetics

The Pontiac Aztek was, in theory, a design that would change the face of adventure. Produced in 2001-2005, and marketed to the new-age youthful adventure-type, the car’s features were labelled as ‘cool, convenient and robust’.

Whilst an incredibly innovative idea, the vehicle was deemed a commercial failure due to incredibly bad sales. Disappointing, and not pragmatic in the least, the Aztek quickly went out of production.

However, the popular TV Series “Breaking Bad”, has seen a resurgence in the Aztek's popularity – with the model (wrecked in the series) being sold on auction for $7 800.

Electric Cars that Failed to Go the Distance

Most people think that electric cars are the future, but strangely enough, they were around even in the late 1800s. One of the reasons for the decline in popularity of electric vehicles is the improvement of road infrastructure – which required a greater range than that offered by the electric vehicles of the time.

In recent years, the range which electric vehicles have been able to cover has been increased, with some vehicles even offering optional ‘range aggregators’ for longer distances.

By modern standards, the Sebring-Vanguard CitiCar just can’t compete. Its top speed was a mere 48-50km/h and its range was only 64km per charge.

However, the CitiCar, produced in the 1970s, was one of the most successful electric cars from 1945 until 1979, selling 4 444 units – until Tesla took over with its Model S.1

As much as we love our vehicles, the motor car industry has experienced a number of ‘what was I thinking?’ moments. Just to be safe, it might be time to review your insurance policy, or, if you don’t have vehicle insurance, time to contact MiWay for a comprehensive quote.

Interested in the history of the motor vehicle? Click here


"Citicar" by User D0li0 on en.wikipedia - Public domain from EVDL 1, EVDL 2,. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons - 

"Hot Wheels: Back to the Future" Delorean Model: