TopGear Top 9
VAUXHALL ADAM ROCKS
Last month, Vauxhall announced it was taking the Adam Rocks off sale after three years. It turned out no one wanted a ‘premium’ Vauxhall supermini with extra ride height and wannabe rufty-tuftyness. Just as we thought when it was launched.
RENAULT VEL SATIS
Big French cars have been a sales black hole since the Eighties. “But maybe,” thought Renault, “dressing up an exec barge as a bizarrelooking hatch will fool everyone!” It didn’t. The car lasted three years in the UK, with sales just topping 1,000.
ASTON MARTIN VIRAGE
Aston knew this was a DB9 with Rapide lights. So did we. But the company thought that this sub-DBS, super-DB9 niche-filler was a genius range sweet spot. Eighteen months later, Aston quietly canned it. Hate to say we told you so...
Merc was ahead of the SUV boom curve, with its M-Class in 1997. Drunk with success, it tried flogging this hideous six-seat MPV in 2006, and predictably killed it off in 2013 everywhere bar China. Not even the V8 AMG could redeem it.
VAUXHALL MERIVA VXR
Pre-pointless crossovers, Vauxhall liked to VXR everything in sight, from the Zafira MPV to the office lunch trolley. It plopped a 178bhp turbo engine in the Meriva OAP-mobile, and was rewarded with 272 sales in four years. Who’d have guessed?
MG XPOWER SV
Beleaguered MG’s hodgepodge of an outdated Italian chassis and asthmatic 4.6-litre Mustang V8 barely stood a chance against the might of Porsche and BMW. Only 82 were ever made. MG went bust. Not exactly money well spent.
In 2006 Lotus resurrected a classic name and fixed it to an Elise dressed up on a bigger, uglier body. Carpets and extra leather were dotted about the cabin. Would you believe it? The £33k oddity was dropped after four years and minimal sales...
As sales bombs go, the Chevy SSR takes some beating. A pickup truck with RWD, no off-roading ability, a thirsty V6 and a folding hard-top roof, it failed so hard there were factory layoffs. Chevy admitted defeat in 2006, just 9,000 sales up.
“Learn our lesson?” said Renault. “That’s just what they’d expect us to do.” So we got the mad Avantime coupe-MPV thing, which lasted three years, and found 8,557 folks to buy it in that time. A future classic – if it doesn’t break down.