The 2000s, an era marked by significant advancements in technology and safety, was also a decade that witnessed the rise and fall of many bold and ambitious automotive projects. Yet, in the pursuit of innovation and market share, not every vehicle crossed the finish line. Some models missed the mark so badly that they ended up in the annals of automotive infamy, remembered more for their shortcomings than any innovative features they may have introduced.
2001 Pontiac Aztek
Often ridiculed for its peculiar design, the 2001 Pontiac Aztek was a car that failed to hit the mark with consumers. Its futuristic design was not well-received and was criticized for being too bold and lacking a coherent design language. It had a decent range of features, including a built-in cooler and a removable cargo tray, but it couldn’t save the Aztek from being a commercial flop. From its launch in 2000, until it was discontinued in 2005, Pontiac sold just over 119,000 Azteks, a far cry from the brand’s initial expectations.
2004 Chevrolet SSR
The Chevrolet SSR was an odd combination of a sports car and a pickup truck that struggled to perform well in either category. The result was a vehicle that was too heavy to be sporty and had too small of a bed to be practical as a pickup. Additionally, its high price tag further diminished its appeal. Its production was halted in 2006 due to slow sales, with just over 24,000 units sold in its three years of production.
2006 Hummer H2
The Hummer H2 was known for its gas-guzzling inefficiency and outsized proportions. It was widely criticized for its poor fuel economy, often getting less than 10 miles to the gallon. As gas prices rose and environmental concerns became more prevalent, the H2 became a symbol of excess. The financial crisis of 2008 didn’t help either, and the Hummer brand was ultimately discontinued in 2010.
2003 Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible
While the original PT Cruiser had a successful launch due to its unique retro styling, the 2003 convertible version was a different story. The ungainly look was poorly received, combined with poor build quality and handling issues. Sales of the convertible were far below expectations, and it didn’t do any favors to the reputation of the PT Cruiser line.
2006 Subaru B9 Tribeca
The B9 Tribeca was Subaru’s first attempt at a midsize SUV. However, it was criticized for its controversial front-end design, underpowered engine, and cramped third-row seating. Even a refresh in 2008 that improved some of these issues could not save it from poor sales, and it was discontinued in 2014.
2004 Jaguar X-Type
Aimed at competing with BMW and Mercedes in the compact executive car segment, the X-Type ended up disappointing. Criticized for its derivative design and for sharing too many components with cheaper Ford models, it did not live up to the prestige associated with the Jaguar name. The X-Type was never able to achieve its sales goals, selling just under 50,000 units in the US during its production run.
2007 Dodge Caliber
Replacing the successful Dodge Neon, the Caliber fell short in several areas. It was plagued with issues ranging from an unrefined powertrain and a poorly designed, cheap-feeling interior to underwhelming fuel efficiency. The car was heavily criticized and did not resonate with consumers, leading to its discontinuation in 2012.
This article originally appeared on MyCarMakesNoise.
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