Americans commonly believe that Henry Ford invented the automobile as we know it, but that misconception stems from the fact that he ran the first manufacturing company to heavily use the assembly line method of production. German inventor Karl Benz actually invented the first car, the Benz Patent Motorcar in 1885.
The role of American consumers and manufacturers in automotive history cannot be denied, however. From wide open highway stretches to massive cities and sprawling suburbia, much of America lacks the public transportation to make living without owning a car possible. Add in the impressions that popular culture, from movies like The Fast and the Furious and Bullitt, to the muscle car mania that hit the country in the 1960s and 70s, and its no wonder that America’s car brands have always cranked out as many new and impressive products as possible.
With the consumer market constantly shifting due to foreign competition, rising and falling fuel prices, and evolving technology, American manufacturers face a tough task when it comes to predicting just which cars will be successful and which will fail. And though sports cars like Ford’s Mustang, sedans like Lincoln’s Continental, or even pickup trucks like the Dodge Ram line have come to be eternally linked with the history of the automobile, each American carmaker has a long list of duds to their name, as well.
Keep scrolling for 20 of the absolute worst American cars, stinkers so bad no one should buy them at any price.
20 Chevrolet Avalanche
The mid-2000s were a rough time for American manufacturers, who were still struggling to compete with an import market that offered cheaper, more reliable entry-level cars as well as superior luxury and performance products. It seemed like American brands had a corner on the truck and SUV market, so most ended up trying to push the limits of what their trucks and SUVs could do.
In the end, though, trying to blend the purpose between two forms of automobile typically results in a disappointing product, and Chevrolet hopefully learned that lesson with the hilariously ugly Avalanche.
Where crossovers merged the minivan and SUV market, the Avalanche tried to merge the truck and SUV forms, with the result that it couldn’t quite do either job well. Based on the same platform as the successful Suburban and Escalade models, the Avalanche instead offered a short truck bed out back, and allowed users to fold the second row of seats down when more space was required. Unfortunately, that meant any kind of weather would then enter the passenger cabin, while the Avalanche’s thick (and overly clad) truck bed walls doubled as insulated coolers but kept width of the bed to a minimum, as well. Grey plastic faux roll bars didn’t help the Avalanche, either.