Saturday, December 27, 2014

Car Features - Flop It: Vehicle Failures

Before we leave 2014, let us review the cars that failed for a certain manufacturer. So before anything else, we would not list down luxury brands since they do have low sales figures, something they're proud about. Limited edition vehicles are not counted here. Isuzu isn't counted since they have only a limited line-up and Ford since we had a hard time debating on what car to include especially some were victims of the mabenta-sa-umpisa-matumal-mamaya scheme (such as the Lynx, Expedition, F150, and Explorer Sport Trac) while there are none who flopped at all.

So, let us delve the main flop per brand (mainstream ones, of course) plus the other ones.

Special thanks to my friends at Team TopGear Philippines especially to Celvin Macayana, Juan Miguel Mendoza, Peter Valderrama, Isaac Atienza, Forevoever Gayo, Queruben Espadilla, Jetski Domalaon, Jeric Guevarra, Jaime Geronimo Garcia, Adrian Dmaxs, Aldre Garcia, Dominic Sobreo, and Johann Mendoza.
Main Flop: Lumina
GM Automobiles Pilipinas had a success on bringing a Buick van from China and naming it as the Chevrolet Venture. But it was the opposite when they shipped in the Buick Regal and naming it the Chevrolet Lumina (that nameplate was last used in America in 2000), especially it didn't dent the sales leaders Camry and Accord and even the Cefiro. The 2.5 V6 wasn't so special to begin with, plus they had lowered the price the following year smelled trouble. Chevrolet left the mid-size market in 2008 only to return five years later with the Malibu, which is salable.

Other Flops: Cassia, Zafira, Traverse, Silverado, Savana

Main Flop: HR-V
Here is one vehicle that even when it was new, salespeople didn't have a clue on what car was this. Priced higher than a CR-V, this one had limited utility plus it made do with a 1.6 non VTEC engine. Waiting time was very long since it is imported, plus styling was not everyone's cup of tea. This, from the start, didn't stood a chance even from the Vitara and Sportage that were also slow sellers too. When it was quietly dropped, no one is weeping in its demise.

Other Flops: Pilot (first gen), Odyssey (first release), Legend

Main Flop: Elantra (second locally, fourth in major markets)
So, what's rarer than an exotic locally? This Elantra, since you and me didn't know about this vehicle only sold one (yes, we are not kidding here) unit during its existence. So, who is to blame then? We don't know but this is carried a 1.6 diesel engine (only in its class during its time, only to be followed by the Focus and Cruze) and carried a price tag of P998,000 back then. So to the sole owner of the Elantra we invite you for a cup of coffee one of these days.

Other Flops: Sonata (pre-2010), i30, XG

Main Flop: Sephia
Introduced during Kia's gloomy days, it was launched to compete against the higher end models of the Corolla and Civic. While the Pride followed the mabenta-sa-umpisa-matumal-mamaya syndrome, the Sephia didn't sell at all. It had decent specs and a hatchback body, but everything went flat (and that does not include the dubious Kia reliability back then). They didn't return to the compact class until 2009 where they launched the Forte and Forte Koup, which were expensive but lowering their prices didn't do better which prompted Columbian Autocar Corporation not to sell the next generation model.

Other Flops: Forte and Forte Koup, Borrego

Main Flop: Second generation 3
2009 saw the release of the of the second generation Mazda 3 worldwide, with the Philippines having it in April 2012. Yes, everyone was excited to have this model but the prices were, depending on your belief, "intentionally" overpriced since Ford Group Philippines were to let go of Mazda by year end. The base 1.6 without the famed Skyactiv technology was priced at P999,000 and its hatchback version a hundred grand more. Berjaya Group, the latest Mazda distributor, added the Maxx model that was priced at P899k.

Other Flops: E2000 (pre-1995)

Main Flop: Endeavor
April 2007 saw the introduction of three Mitsubishi SUVs namely the redesigned Pajero, the second generation Outlander, and the US Market Endeavor. The latter was the Three Diamonds contender to the growing market for Americanized SUVs but this one failed since there were only few takers. Coincidentally, it experienced falling sales in the US, the main market of this vehicle. After this one, there was no direct replacement for this vehicle elsewhere in the world.

Other Flops: Eclipse (2007-2011)

Main Flop: Cedric
After experiencing flopped models in the premium car class, it hit the right notes with the 1996 Cefiro. But their previous attempts didn't take off, such in the case of the Nissan Cedric. We picked this one since it was competing against the Crown and carried a very high price tag, which people do not view of Nissan. The Bluebird Altima, Bluebird, first generation Cefiro, and Maxima had failed though we see some units on the road and online selling sites.

Other Flops: Bluebird Altima, Bluebird, Cefiro (A31), Maxima, Sentra 200 (2010)

Main Flop: Tribeca
Just like the Endeavor, this one is developed primarily for the American market but it wasn't the success Subaru hoped. The B9 Tribeca failed, then the updated didn't make do also. We can see some faults here: tight third row, not so stellar engine performance, and polarizing looks. It was discontinued in the home market and there were replacements abound. One would just buy if he or she is a Subaru fan or wants something different.

Other Flops: Impreza (non-STI, 2012), Forester (2001-2002)

Main Flop: Kizashi
The Kizashi, was no doubt a car that had journalists give raving reviews but in the actual consumer world, it didn't make a splash. Size was in-between the Elantra and a Sonata, also the price was in-between the two. Locally, it was a rare sight especially it was straddling between the Lancer EX GT-A and the Sonata 2.4 base in price plus Suzuki had a history of poor sales when it comes to sedans and wagons such as the case of the Esteem and SX4 sedan. Want something fun and manageable while being unique, go get this one.

Other Flops: Esteem, SX4 Sedan

Main Flops: Echo and Echo Verso
Launched simultaneously in June 2000 (together with the RAV4), the Echo and its Verso sibling didn't appeal to consumers back then mainly because of two things: their stratospheric price which makes a Corolla GLi of the same sum appealing and the country's preference towards sedans back then. The two reached the automotive cemetery in 2003 but later resurrected as the Yaris in 2007. Even the best selling brand in the archipelago isn't spared from these flops.

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