Feature: Five Great Automotive PR Fails

Feature: Five Great Automotive PR Fails

Never mind flaming Ford Kugas, here are five other scandals that rocked the car world


The Beta promised much but delivered nothing but angst and aggravation due to abysmal levels of rust protection. Indeed, a light English shower would reduce its bodywork to a bubbling blanket of corrosion. It was so bad that Lancia had to enforce large-scale recalls and buy-backs that killed the Lancia brand in the UK.


John DeLorean’s futuristic study in brushed stainless steel should have been a runaway success. Unfortunately it bombed thanks to poor market demand, cost overruns and an unforeseen slump in the American car market. The company went bust and the DeLorean disappeared after less than two years of production

3: FERRARI 458:

A mysterious fire issue plagued early Ferrari 458 models. One minute you’d be showing off, smirking, the next you’d be standing, sobbing, as your then R2 805 000 supercar crackled and smouldered on the side of the road. Ferrari discovered that a highly flammable glue used on the wheel arch liners was to blame. A recall was soon issued, burnt cars replaced and said solvent swapped out for screws.


Ah, yes, Dieselgate. That time in 2015 when Volkswagen was bust cheating diesel-emissions tests by means of some crafty ECU software tweaks. The fallout was devastating. Not just for Volkswagen – which has so far had to cough up billions in damages – but also for diesel in general. Sales in Europe are declining rapidly as consumers no longer see it as the clean, eco-friendly fuel it was once perceived to be.


When it comes to recalls it’s hard to beat airbag manufacturer Takata Corp. In 2017 the Japan-based company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US after it had to recall and replace approximately 23.4-million defective driver and passenger airbags blamed for injury and death. What remained of the company was sold on to Key Safety Systems for $1.6-billion. – Thomas Falkiner