Back when I was a kid me and my friends loved to play this game when you had to guess who will get killed in the next episode of your favorite TV show. We’re all grown up now, but we still love to gather around sometimes and talk about all kinds of stuff and, naturally, predict the fate of all the brand-new models on the market. It’s actually a pretty hard job to guess how a new car on the market will sell, but that’s why the game is so interesting. The big-time manufacturers spend millions (if not billions) of dollars on new developments and can’t really know for sure whether they’ll prevail or not – some cars become hits while others turn out to be total misses. Take the Honda CR-Z, for example: if you asked me back in the day about it I’d tell you with certainly that is was bound to be an international best-seller with that catchy design, superb fuel-efficiency, great handling and a nice interior. However, the engineers played with the idea of impressive mileage a bit too much and forgot about other important stuff, like strong performance, and that lead to poor sales.
There’s No Predicting A Car’s Future
But I don’t want to talk about the losers – do you? I didn’t think so! Today we’ll discuss 7 market leaders that were predicted to fail but turned out to be, well, leaders. And that’s the other side of the coin, so to speak. Some models looks like they’re supposed to be a complete disaster, but instead of failing they end up conquering the pedestal and becoming record-breakers when it comes to sales. Sometimes you see a car and just know that it’s not right for the company; other times the majors in the industry build cars that don’t really seem to have a specific segment where they can shine. Sometimes you might even think a company is deliberately going for a failure, but – to your surprise – they take the market by storm and earn love from the drivers and praise from the critics. As I said in the beginning, you can’t predict a car’s fate. Even if it seems like the brand is going nowhere with a new model you never know how it’s gonna turn up at the end. So, let’s take a look at 7 market leaders that were predicted to fail but prospered instead.
#1 – The Mini Cooper
Alright, I’ll say it first: I never thought that the Mini Cooper would be a hit here in the United States, but it sure is! A few years back sub-compact cars were associated with low-budget, routine transportation. The small cars in a brand’s line-up came with just the minimum of features, equipment and options. That’s understandable, because the main goal was to create the cheapest cars on the market. The majors in the business thought (and not without some hard facts) that we got so used to our mid-size sedans and the plentitude of interior and cargo space they provide that the only way we would even consider switching to a cramped compact car is if they could win us over with compelling price-tags. Extremely low pricing is actually one of the strongest suits of the compact segment. So, based on that motto, the Mini Cooper was destined to fail, because nobody would pay for a cute little thing as much as for a traditional car. However, as it turned out, we had a soft spot for tiny cars, because they were flying off dealership faster than Mini could build them. Ok, let’s move on with the list of 7 market leaders that were predicted to fail.
#2 – The Tesla Model S
Elon Musk and the team behind the Model S did the impossible: they made an electric car look sexy and sell like crazy. But if someone told you a decade ago that the man who’s responsible for PayPal would succeed with a company that makes EVs, I bet you’d say he’s crazy – at the very least. However, life has a funny way of doing the opposite of what you think, and that’s exactly what happened with Tesla. Now, in your defense I would say that to run a brand that’s only making electric vehicles is super costly. But Mr. Musk wouldn’t be a genius if he didn’t find a way to make it work. He figured out how to make the lazy and mistrustful Americans excited about “electricians” and soon we had this new order of the day: owning a Model S makes you a cool fella. So, today Tesla is making huge profits and is ready to introduce the first-ever electric SUV, called the Model X, in 2016. Now, I don’t wanna make any predictions, but if I had to I’d say this one is going to be a major hit as well. After all, it takes one look at the pics to get why people are cheering for it so much.
7 Market Leaders That Were Predicted To Fail – #3, The Acura NSX
Ever since Ferrari took the market of supercars, by, well, the balls, everybody in the industry has been trying to beat the king and become the new champ. The majority has failed, of course, but it never seems to stop the heat, if you know what I mean. Usually you’ve got two types of Ferrari-killers: the first ones are well-established, respected and wealthy manufacturers that invest tons of money into the next huge project and end up on the side of the boarder. The second bunch is generally a line-up of start-uppers, companies that dream about building the best supercar out there, but can’t simply afford and run out of the budget before they even hit production. However, there’s a third breed, a unique one, and it’s called Honda, one of the mightiest auto makers from Japan. They created the NSX aiming at the Ferrari 348’s glory and took some of it in a fair fight. True, they had a lot of experience with high-performance cars, but no critic out there could predict that their bold new model would become such a big hit (not even Honda knew). Actually, they all doubted it, and that’s why it’s in the list of 7 market leaders that were predicted to fail. Today, a couple of decades later, it’s still one of the most wanted vehicles on the collectors’ market.
#4 – The Toyota Prius
Alright, this one’s easy: a compact car with a mediocre-at-best design and a hybrid powertrain under that hood just couldn’t be successful – by definition. And when Toyota first brought it to the States, it was nothing but a routine car with promises of market-leading fuel-efficiency. The experts called it the dream-car of tech geeks and nerds, and that was the end of it. But, as well all know, the Prius started a revolution that’s still making its way into people’s hearts. And with it the Japanese mogul made driving a hybrid vehicle cool. As we’re used to saying now, the Prius made the technology mainstream. Furthermore, rich, famous people started paying attention to this modest tiny thing and switched their pricey Lamborghinis and Bentleys for a chance to be environment-friendly. Crazy, huh? Orlando Bloom, Cameron Diaz, Sandra Bullock…and the list goes on! It’s safe to say that Toyota is the father (or, should I say mother) of all the contemporary hybrids and without the ground-breaking Prius the super-popular segment of the market would still be in the Ice Age at best.
7 Market Leaders That Were Predicted To Fail – #5, The Porsche Cayenne
What? Nobody believed in a Porsche car? Get out of here! Wait, let me explain: Porsche is considered by many fans, enthusiasts and experts to be THE sports car brand in the whole world. No other sports car manufacturer could even come close to the legendary and highly successful 911. True, a lot of so-called “killers” have been rolled out, but none of them could strike the queen down. The Germans themselves have been trying their luck in other segments, but nobody could gues that they would go as far as creating and SUV. And that’s exactly what the Cayenne is – a living-breathing utility vehicle with that Porsche logo on it. The first generation was introduced to the public back in 2000 and was quite a bold move, to say the least. But, as it turned out, the team behind it was made up of genius folks, because the Cayenne actually outsold the big-bad 911. Aha, that’s right, Porsche beat their own record and showed the public that they turn into gold pretty much everything they touch. And that’s it for the list of 7 market leaders that were predicted to fail.
We had Toyota, Tesla, Porsche, Mini and Honda defining gravity and scoring big (no, HUGE) with their highly risky new cars, and that deserves a round of applauds. Today, in 2016, we’ve got even more bold models ready to make an entrance, and 2017 is promising to be one of the most exciting years for the industry, so, check back with me regularly to catch all the latest posts and keep believing in greatness. Oh, and yes – don’t forget to comment!
Watch this video: Why The Toyota Prius Is The Best Car In The World!