Automakers devote a significant amount of effort and money to the development of new models. And while studies might provide insight into a vehicle’s potential success, no one can forecast the future. Not every automobile is a hit, even if they seemed like they would be. In automotive design, failure is just as common as success. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of vehicles that have emerged, flopped, and vanished over the years.
British and German manufacturers are no exceptions. Aside from producing some of the world’s greatest luxury cars, these countries have also given us plenty of terrible designs. And indeed, some incredibly popular models can be considered flops from a design perspective. That said, every now and again, we get presented with a car that defies description. Many cars have failed in the past for a variety of reasons. Here is our list of the ugliest German and British automobiles ever created.
10 Opel Kadett E
The second front-wheel-drive Kadett, produced from 1984 until 1991, claimed the award for “Car of the Year 1984,” and was an unqualified success. It was the bestselling Opel and a true aerodynamics world champion, selling 3,779,289 cars throughout its life.
But the same doesn’t apply to the Kadett E. From top to bottom, they riddled the Kadett model E with flaws, making it one of the worst German automobiles ever made. The Kadett E not only performs poorly, but it also looks pretty bad.
9 Smart Fortwo
The original Smart Fortwo is an amazing piece of technology, but it was never fashionable. They made the Smart ForTwo compact, but the designers didn’t want to sacrifice safety.
The amazing “Tridion Safety Cell,” a steel hemispherical safety cell that made up not just the car’s platform, but also a substantial section of the external body, was the reason for this. They are, yet, reasonably priced if you prefer wheels to appearances.
8 BMW i3
There are several reasons the BMW i3 has not been a big seller in the United States. Its style has always been a key reason. While some fans adore it for its oddness and quirkiness, most customers appear to dislike it.
Certain publications even named it one of the ugliest automobiles of the recent decade because of its bizarre style.
7 Audi A2
The Audi A2, produced from 1999 to 2005 and appears like a German version of the Aztek, was the creation of none other than Belgian automotive designer Luc Donckerwolke. A bubble that moves is how Audi A2 gets described among people.
Almost everyone despises it and considers it unreliable. For some, the Audi A2 was prohibitively pricey, while for others, the odd look was a turnoff.
6 VW Type 181
Model 181’s design is so unique that its creator seemed to have struggled to come up with a name for it. As a result, they continued marketing the Type 181 model with the same factory name. Originally intended for the German military in the late 1960s.
The Type 181 was available to the public from 1968 through 1980, depending on the location. It went under various names including the Trekker in the United Kingdom and the Thing in the United States. Slow and uncomfortable, especially on longer trips, it is one of the most unappealing civilian German automobiles ever made.
5 Vauxhall Victor F-type
Vauxhall introduced Victor in 1957 and miraculously survived until 1976. The Vauxhall Victor F had a reputation for being a rust bucket. Within weeks, they are usually rotting. Victor F type was a huge export success, with 100,000 units produced in just 15 months.
The challenge surprised the Luton production engineers, and while the 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, performed admirably. The showy body had many flaws, leading to it being one of the most notoriously rust-prone British automobiles ever.
4 Morris Marina
The Marina is the automobile on which Top Gear used to dump grand pianos regularly, which somewhat set the benchmark for how horrible it is. They panned Morris Marina for its poor performance, styling, handling, and build quality since its introduction.
British Leyland introduced it in April 1971, using existing mechanical pieces such as the front suspension from the 1948 Morris Minor and ex-BMC engines from the early 1950s. However, the public was unconcerned, and BL sold over a million of them.
3 Daimler SP250
It’s one of those automobiles that, while on paper, appears to be a winner, but has proven to be less than effective in action. Several engineering concerns made the automobile a flop.
The fiberglass chassis had terrible flex, and the ugly body lacked the strength to compensate for the poor underpinnings. It resulted in a lot of scuttle shakes and, in the long run, cracking. The doors and hood would crack open in intense cornering situations.
2 Reliant Robin
The name of this British automobile is adorable, and its design is very strange. Consider a vehicle with only three wheels with a center-mounted front wheel. Now, imagine that one wheel controls the steering. How insane would that be?
It was unstable on curves because of its odd three-wheel design. Fortunately, the car was heavily underpowered, having a 750cc engine. Significant faults included a detachable steering wheel, cracked doors, and the inability to back up.
1 Austin Allegro
With its cloudy appearance, the Austin Allegro, like the Morris Marina, resulted from British Leyland’s malaise in the 1970s. They debuted the car in 1973, and it rapidly earned a reputation for poor design quality, thanks to gimmicks like the square steering wheel.
The Allegro left a more lasting impression on many readers than the Marina. The Allegro was a commercial failure. It was also on the market for nine years, selling approximately 650,000 units.