The last thing an automaker wants is for a model to be branded unsafe. Not only is a defective car a major sales headache, it also puts thousands — or sometimes millions — of lives in danger, and could end up costing the manufacturer millions in lawsuits and recalls, as well as irreparable damage to the brand’s image.
But for every iconic car, there is almost always a ghoulish counterpoint, an infamous failure that has gone down in history to match each success. For every Mustang, there is the Pinto. For each Corvette, there is the Cobalt. These unsafe models not only pose a risk to their owners, they also have the potential to take entire companies down.
After Consumer Reports demanded Suzuki immediately recall its Samurai SUV, the company’s sales nosedived. The company famously ended up suing the magazine over its misfortunes, but with nonexistent sales and a tattered reputation, Suzuki left the American market in 2012.
Curiously, some cars are incredibly unsafe and became iconic anyway. The element of danger seems to add to their reputation and keeps them immune from the infamy heaped on lesser cars. From the iconic to the infamous, here are 10 cars from throughout history that define the term “death trap.”