Europe’s car makers are facing a rough ride. Their sales are at a 17-year low region-wide. It may seem cruel of the brokerage, Sanford C. Bernstein, to remind them of their biggest commercial wrecks. Most major makers suffered billions in losses. Yet not all cars failed by accidents of poor design, ill-judged technological leaps or wildly optimistic production forecasts.
VW knew its Bugatti Veyron, a quick and complex supercar made in tiny numbers, would not make money but hoped it might burnish the brand. Daimler believed it could transfer know-how from its sleek executive saloons to small cars. It did—but it brought the same high costs too: its Smart Fortwo had the biggest loss. Renault produced reasonable cars but was overly optimistic about sales. Fiat failed to compete with the VW Golf. As for tomorrow’s pile-ups? Bernstein reckons that the latest bunch of electric cars could some day join the list.
Via The Economist