The True Legacy of the Worst-Selling Cars

On Wednesday, The Week rolled out a list of the five worst-selling cars of all time. It was in response to a Polk's data revealing that the Ford Focus as the best selling car in the world, with 1,020,410 cars moved annually. The list highlights the five poorest selling cars of all time, but I fear does not give the proper context for these vehicles. Perhaps it is the tinge of non-automotive journalists attempting to cover the auto industry, but this list needed the lens of someone- anyone- with more perspective of the automotive realm. The fifth car on the list is the Cadillac Catera. the 2001 model year is singled out, but if they wanted the true poorest sales year, they would have gone with 2003, where only 15 cars were sold. This is unfair, because Cadillac sold more than 25,000 units of the Catera in both 1997 and 1998. Additionally, this was the car that set the groundwork for the eventual CTS- the car that saved Cadillac. Next on the list is the Pontiac Aztek. No one is arguing that the Aztek is anything less than a vehicular atrocity, but from 2001 to 2003, Pontiac sold more than 27K units per year. Still, the Aztek's true legacy was that it made it way too easy for GM to part ways with Pontiac during the auto bailout years. The Yugo GV was listed at number three, but even that shitbox managed to sell close to 50K units in 1987. The Yugo brand was imported by International Automobile Importers, which was founded by Malcom Bricklin. The same Malcom Bricklin that introdued Subaru to America and built a gullwinged sportscar of his name, the Bricklin SV-1. The Yugo also had a 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty, which was unheard of at the time (though, you needed that warranty, as the car fell apart quite easily). The second car on the list was the 1960 Edsel. There really is not much I can say in defense of the Edsel, so I'll just move right along. The final car on the list was the Studebaker Wagonaire, which was unique because of its roof design. The rear of the roof would retract so that you could fit oversized items in the rear. This design would be employed (in a nearly identical fashion) on the GMC Envoy XUV. It just goes to show you that, while these cars were not sales giants, they all had left their mark on the auto industry in one way or another. Besides, considering the list of defunct automakers that no longer exist, there have to be automakers that sold less cars in the past. Nice try The Week, but leave the car stuff to us!

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