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Recent misses: wanted classics of the future?

The misses back then? These are now rare, sought-after classics. Think of the Edsel, the Metropolitan, even the Amphicars. The DeLorean….

Sometimes things go wrong

Car manufacturers naturally build cars to make a profit, but sometimes things go wrong when in “Idea succeeded, mission failed”. Then you end up with unsold cars, walking pace running conveyor belts and a bunch of punishment jumps in the sub-top of management. And whether past events are the learning moments of the present? So the answer to the question of what soon sought-after classics will be? We take a look into the future and look at cars for which the manufacturer has had to pay a lot of money according to public figures. And some of those cars are now dirt cheap. The data is not accurate to the euro, but comes from the Wall Street research company Bernstein Research. Several manufacturers have also contradicted the calculations.


The loss list says little about the quality of the cars. Rather, it is about wrong investment and marketing estimates.

And then things go wrong

The Smart Fortwo, which was built between 1997 and 2006, has suffered the most loss. A loss of no less than 3,35 billion euros was written off for this 'urban hero'. Which amounts to just under € 4.500 per sold car. Oh yes: There was even a Smart in Brabus version.

But marketing strategies can turn out even worse. Especially when prestige is the guiding principle. As in: “The new - and somewhat older rich - don't know what to do with their money and will do everything to show it”. Tatàààà! There we have the Bugatti Veyron, which you still don't have for a few bucks, but still ...
It is well known that Bugatti sold his Veyrons at a loss. Bugatti should have asked for an extra 450 euros per car for each of the 4.617.500 copies made to break even.

That did not happen, causing the hypercar a total loss of 1,7 billion for Bugatti. The current demand on the used car market is disappointing. That's why an American drove his Bugatti into a swamp for the insurance premium. Instead of his money, he was sentenced to prison for fraudulent insurance.

The toppers of the future?

  1. Smart Fortwo (1997-2006): 3,35 billion loss, or about 4.500 euros per car. We have already mentioned them.
  2. Fiat Stilo (2001-2009): The factory committed more than 2.500 euros to each Stilo. Fiat's attempt to wipe the Gulf off the map failed miserably. The looks were too dull, the motorization too weak. 'Europe' went for the original while the Italians dropped out because they found him 'too German'.
  3. VW Phaeton (2001-2012): 1,99 billion loss, or more than 28.000 per car. That was the umpteenth attempt to dethrone Rolls-Royce: “FAIL !!”. You buy a Pheaton that cost two tons now for about ten grand.
  4. Peugeot 1007 (2004-2009): Small cars can also cost a lot. On the 107 so positively received in the press, the factory eventually committed over 15.000 per car.
  5. Mercedes A-class (1997-2004): This caused Mercedes a loss of 1,71 billion, almost € 1.500 per car. Of course, Star enthusiasts just didn't think the A-class was serious enough to be a Mercedes. But when the small Mercedes in Sweden during the 'moose test', a quick evasive maneuver overturned, his fate was actually already drawn.
  6. Bugatti Veyron (2005-2013): loss of 1,70 billion euros, or 4.617.500 euros per car. Look at Marktplaats or in the local swamp. At Bugatti they were angry about the math.
  7. Jaguar X-Type (2001-2009): The factory had to dedicate around € 3.500 for each car. It could have been so beautiful. The Jaguar X-type should have doubled the total sales, so 1 in 2 Jaguars should have been an X-type. That did not work, the car never got the expected rating.
  8. Renault Laguna (2006-2012): More than 3.500 each Laguna cost… the factory. Final boss Carlos Ghosn had aimed high. To boost Renault's name, the Laguna was very important. "We are willing to risk our entire reputation for it." With that in mind, almost € 800.000.000 was invested. And that investment was not very pleasant.
  9. Audi A2 (2000-2005): loss of 1,33 billion, or 7.530 euros per car. One approach was that the thing did not look. But the small Audi did not drive badly. However, there were only about 180.000 buyers. And even compared to the already unsuccessful competitor, the Mercedes A class, there were about 800.000 fewer.
  10. Renault Vel Satis (2001-2009): loss of 1,2 billion euros, or 18.710 euros per car. That car was just a bridge too far in appearance.

13 Comments

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  1. @Anton. Of course it helped that the East German Mark was swapped 1: 1 with West German Marks otherwise Peugeot would have probably had the world's largest paper mountain now 😉

  2. the Vel satis, and of course the Aaventime is also part of it

    Have been driving a 2010 Vel Satis 2006 dci since 2.2 and hope to be able to drive it for a long time to come.
    After several R 25s and Safranes, this is really VELocity and SATISfaction

  3. Is the Renault (Matra) Avantime not also in this list?
    Perhaps, as its name says, has been (too far) ahead of time and also competes in-house through the Vel Satis, but it is a great car that I think has the potential to become such a topper of the future.
    Or were the losses not great enough?

  4. Yes that VEL SATIS!
    I've driven it for years. A great car that really falls into the A-class… But there were many problems with the electronics, turbo and sometimes costs that were exorbitant such as replacing a headlight for which the entire front bumper has to be removed. But he drove really great. On the German Autobahn once hit the 260 (to try it out) and it felt very stable. Would have liked to keep driving in it and if I had the space I would have granted it his pension under a cover (to keep it anyway). But yes, then still exchanged and to my surprise received a nice trade-in price (5 years ago). IF I were to buy one again, it would be the most luxurious version.

  5. The Audi A2 was a little too far ahead of its time, and the exciting versions / colors did not come to NL.
    The “color Storm” colors mainly remained in D. which is why gray versions were often seen in NL.
    But more than 10 years after their introduction, they were suddenly appreciated, at least in NL, because they turned out to be very economical, and therefore interesting in road tax, etc.
    Which resulted in a significant boost in the used prices about 5 or 8 years ago.

  6. Audi a2 has the lowest air resistance of 2000 in 0,25. And in the 2nd hand market the trolleys are not to be dragged along and are shockingly expensive! Whether they are beautiful? Fortunately, tastes differ! you've got to love it! What's beautiful about a Duck or beetle?

  7. And "saved by the gong", the Peugeot 309, a Peugeot for people who had nothing to do with the brand and it was not a great success.
    Then the Wall fell, and Peugeot then offered the 309 in Germany for the same price as the 205. In the former GDR they found this to be a very strong offer: lots of space and a handling and suspension that could handle the bad roads very well. It became “Like hot cakes”.
    The then director of Peugeot Germany reportedly obtained a nice step in his career later.

    • And then it was also not a real Peugeot, but the intended successor to the Talbot Horizon, which is why 309 was outside the series, if it had been a real Peugeot it would have been called 306.

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