Luxury cars can be big, both in terms of size, performance and, of course, price, but when it comes to sales, the number is usually low. Car sales fall into a pyramid structure, with the cheapest cars at the bottom having the biggest sales simply because they can be bought by a large number of people. The most expensive cars are right at the top, with the smallest market share simply because there are only a limited number of creme de la crème people and a limited number of deep pockets can fit. afford these luxury cars.
Of course, that’s the good car sales pyramid. Cars that don’t sell, for reasons that have nothing to do with their quality, don’t end up on a pyramid. They can be on a list, like this one. Like 10 greatest luxury cars that no one has bought, for a myriad of reasons. Have you met any of them?
ten 1958-1960 Ford Edsel: A $250 million failure
Ford’s luxury-charged Edsel should have worked well, but it turned into the biggest corporate fiasco ever in the automotive world. They were good Ford cars transformed into rebadged luxury land barges with lots of features and hefty price tags. But the Edsel brand as a whole has fallen victim of the 1958 recession it ruined what little luck he had.
Edsel made a sensational debut in the spring of 1957, unlike any other car brand. Additionally, it had many unique features such as a rolling dome speedometer, self-adjusting brakes and a range of ergonomic controls. Most important of all was the push-button automatic transmission placed in the center of the steering wheel.
9 2000-2012 Maybach 57 and 62: The solitary luxury Ranger
Daimler was left to solitary devices when Rolls-Royce went to BMW and Bentley was sold to VW. So he took the Maybach brand, near death since 1941, and made the smaller Maybach 57 and the larger 62.
Think of them as stretched Mercedes S-Class models, with plush interiors that included individually reclining rear seats. There was also an electroluminescent roof panel, and these cars were selling for over $300,000. Just over 3,000 Maybach models were made through 2012 before Daimler pulled the plug. Today, the Maybach name works best as a premium Mercedes.
8 Fisker Karma 2011-2012: batteries killed the hybrid car
Everything looked rosy when the full-size luxury car, the Fisker Karma, was unveiled to the world. It used a 23.5 kWh battery, two electric motors and a GM turbocharged 2.0-liter Ecotec four-cylinder to produce 402 horsepower and sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds.
The Karma was designed by legendary designer Henrik Fisker, credited with creating one of the first plug-in hybrids for the American public. This gorgeous sports sedan was loaded with space-age tech and luxurious amenities, but faulty batteries quickly bankrupted the company, killing the car before it could truly drive.
seven 2004-2009 Cadillac XLR: A Glorified Corvette
The Cadillac name has been synonymous with luxury cars for decades. With many iconic cars since 1902, this is a truly American automotive brand. One of these great cars is the Cadillac XLR, a luxury convertible with a folding hardtop.
It packs a 4.6-liter V8 engine under its hood hammering out 320 horsepower. The high-performance version, the XLR-V, used a supercharged 4.4-liter V8 a whopping 443 horsepower for a 4.7-second 0-60 MPH spin. However, Cadillac was only able to sell 15,460 XLRs in total over its 5-year life cycle, mainly because at heart it was a rebadged and glorified Corvette.
6 2002 Lincoln Blackwood: the luxury “work” truck
The Lincoln Blackwood was a luxury pickup truck for people with refined tastes, or so the dealers said. While it was a Lincoln and came with all the characteristic luxuries that could spoil any customer at the time, a carpeted bed took away the whole purpose of a pickup truck.
Topped with a tonneau cover, LED lights in the electrically operated trunk, premium leather in the cabin; Ford thought it would sell. Only the rich and famous didn’t want something as mundane as a pickup. And so it only survived a year and became the shortest nameplate in Lincoln’s history.
5 1976-1990 Aston Martin Lagonda: The Sophisticated-Flub Digital Cluster
When Aston Martin was embroiled in a massive financial crisis in the 1970s, the natural conclusion was to go on the offensive. And so they launched the Lagonda full-size luxury sedan designed to be razor-sharp, by William Towns.
In addition to a 5.3-liter V8 under its hood, developing 280 horsepower and around 301 lb-ft of torque, it was accompanied by a digital instrument panel using LED technology. Very futuristic but for the fact that it didn’t work. Later they replaced the LED with cathode ray tubes which was even worse. After 650 problematic cars, Aston Martin ended production. The car had a ton of potential though.
4 1989-1991 Chrysler TC by Maserati: Bad Partnership
In the late 1980s, Chrysler and Maserati decided to team up to create a love child, simply because Lee Iacocca was friends with Alejandro de Tomaso. Unfortunately, while this was built in Milan, it was basically a Chrysler K-car, despite the 200-hp turbocharged 2.2-liter four-cylinder.
Even the Maserati-designed 16-valve cylinder head and bonnet badge couldn’t save the car, even after the engine was replaced with a Mitsubishi-made V6. Nothing Italian there, is there? Only 7,000 were sold in three years, although Maserati and Chrysler really tried a little harder, that could have been really cool.
3 1987-1993 Cadillac Allanté: Wheel problems
Cadillac hasn’t always been a trouble-free luxury car brand, nor always known for the cars that debuted technology first. The Cadillac Allanté was a sports roadster for which GM partnered with Pininfarina to manufacture the bodywork.
With rear leaf springs, performance tires and a digital instrument panel, you’d expect the Allanté to be manna from heaven. Initially, it was. Unfortunately, as it got older it turned into a Pandora’s box of quality issues with a convertible top that was a pain in the patootie.
2 1981-1994 Maserati Biturbo: Italian for black sheep
In all of Maserati’s history, never has a car like the Biturbo been made simply because it was meant to be a more affordable luxury car, something for the masses. When it debuted in 1981, it was in the intense spotlight, pleasing everyone as the first twin-turbocharged production car.
With a 3.5-liter V6 engine developing 185 horsepower, the Biturbo had a lot of courage but was accompanied by electric gremlins and an uncertain temper. Overall a good car but with major QC issues. The Ghibli is a direct and fairly trouble-free descendant.
1 2004-2006 Volkswagen Phaeton: Over-engineered Hubris
The Volkswagen Phaeton was a colossal failure in the United States, but some call it the greatest full-size luxury car ever built. It was the idea of Ferdinand Piëch, the grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, and followed his dictate of strict parameters.
With a 335-hp 4.2-liter V8 or an optional 420-hp 6.0-liter W12 engine, the Phaeton had a base price of $83,000. It was an over-engineered car and what brought it down were the maintenance and repair costs.
Sources: Hagerty, CarandDriver
Each of these shunned sports cars is equally awesome yet superbly unique, and driving them should be on every gearhead’s bucket list.
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