Cars with painfully low-cost traits

Developing a new car model is expensive. The project includes a previous market research, the design of all parts, multiple performance tests, the marketing campaign and the creation of a maintenance program. The time and the money it can consume are usually considered too much, so many companies try whatever they can to reduce both. In nowadays, they’ve devised countless resources to make this process a little more viable. The problem is that not all those ideas cause impact as good as expected.

Some cars became famous for the cost-cutting strategies which were applied to them — usually, in a bad way. The permanent need to make ends meet drove their manufacturers resort to old platforms, borrowed parts and styling solutions which could be considered comical if we weren’t talking about products sold to people at rather high prices. This series shows some of the examples of that which appeared in the past few years around the world.

Chevrolet Agile

Comparing the Agile with the concept car which previewed it, the GPiX, is a sure way to think “where did it all go wrong?”

Much of this case can be explained by saying it involves GM and the year 2008. The Brazilian branch had to replace its second-generation Corsa, since it never sold well there. However, neither the third one (made by Opel) nor the Aveo would please the local public. Unable to get funds from the North-American branch, the Brazilian made the new car using what it already had. The plot twist is that, to replace the second Corsa, the resulting Agile carried over the first one’s platform — a blatant technical downgrade. Add weird design and a fuel-guzzler engine and you can understand why was its reception lukewarm at best.

Chrysler Crossfire

Futuristic styling and retro mechanics. That’s an interesting way to subvert the standards…

In the late 1990s, Daimler and Chrysler merged seeking to save the latter from a deep financial crisis and using each one’s best abilities in order to make both stronger. Then again, that was easier said than done: their differences were too high to make collaboration viable, and Daimler was losing too much money. The Crossfire, which should be a symbol of this venture, ended under heavy criticism for being expensive and borrowing parts from the SLK of a generation which Mercedes-Benz wasn’t even producing anymore.

Danillo Almeida·
6 min
13 cards

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