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While pondering the repercussions of an alliance between General Motors and Nissan/Renault, we realized our future automotive landscape might include an Altima wearing a bowtie or a pushrod-powered 350Z. Some of the combinations could be interesting, but history has proven that when two automakers collaborate, the opportunity for a turd is there. So regardless of whether or not these two companies hook up, we offer up this list of the Top 5 Worst Collaborations as a warning to both.

Note - We opted not to include vehicles that were rebadged within the same company, like the Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable. To be included, each pair of companies needed to be connected by an alliance, but one could not own the other.

Chrysler TC by Maserati (1989-1991)

The worst offender by far, the Chrysler TC by Maserati managed to sully the Italian allure of a great marque with common Chrysler hardware. Some question to this day whether or not Maserati has recovered from the TC. Some say it never will.

(Follow the jump for the final four and our Honorable Mentions)
Acura SLX (1996-1999)

The SUV craze caught Honda and its luxury division, Acura, off guard, so until they could develop SUVs of their own, each brand sold rebadged Isuzu trucks for a few years. The Honda Passport, essentially a rebadged Isuzu Rodeo, was bad, but not as bad as this Isuzu Trooper clone, the Acura SLX. Both vehicles have since been replaced by the Honda Pilot and Acura MD-X, respectively.


Chevy Nova (1985-1998)

The Chevy Nova winds up on this list for two reasons. 1) This tiny four-door economy car failed to fill the shoes of the original Nova and thereby sullied a decent nameplate, and 2) despite being a rebadged Toyota Corolla, the Nova still seemed to break down as often as every domestic econocar of the time.



Mitsubishi Precis (1990-1994)

Collaborating with new-kid-on-the-block Hyundai turned out to be a mistake for Mitsubishi, as the resulting product was the Precis. Mitsu hardly raised a finger to visually differentiate its Precis from the Hyundai Excel on which it was based. The only visual cue it's not an Excel is the lack of a Hyundai logo in the grille.


Toyota Cavalier (1995-200)

Some make fun of the lowly Cavalier, but Toyota thought enough of the third generation model to sell it in Japan for five years as the Toyota Cavalier. Besides being right-hand drive, it also had side markers, different taillights and a serious inferiority complex amongst its pure-bred Toyota brethren.

Honorable Mentions
Plymouth Cricket
Dodge Challenger/Plymouth Sapparo
Chevy LUV truck
Geo Storm
(We had fun putting this together, but know there are many more vehicles we all wish had never been born. Feel free to fill the comments with your own list of vehicles born from bad collaborations.)


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 49 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      I hate the 1973'SEAT 133 a stupid mix between the FIAT/SEAT 127 chassis, the SEAT 850 engine and a FIAT 126 inspired body, awful and very unreliable car.
      • 8 Years Ago
      ok... very americacentric list.

      What about that Nissan Cherry/Alfa Romeo collaboration.

      Where Nissan styled the car and gave the engine... and Alfa did the electonics and build.

      What was so wrong with the Elan M100 #16? Ever driven one? Most people will still say it's the best handling front wheel drive car of all time, and the Isuzu engine is at least cheaper to buy parts for than anything Lotus ever built... still capable of 0-60 in the low 7s IIRC. Too bad it was too expensive... and before the Miata made such things trendy

      Slade
      • 8 Years Ago
      The Rover brand has to be one of the worst.

      They took Hondas, loaded them with pretentious, gaudy old-man detailing much like an American Buick, and used them as replacements for their entire line.

      They still tanked... If you can't sell rebadged Hondas, you are doomed.
      • 8 Years Ago
      As to whether Autoblog ought to have mentioned the Renault Alliance—hey, they did use the words "Renault" and "alliance" in the first line of the post. Does that count?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Um, to my knowledge, the Chevy Nova was a Toyota Corolla rebadged and nothing more. Wouldn't call that much of a collaboration, but correct me if I'm wrong.
      • 8 Years Ago
      What about the AMC Medallion (Renault 18(?) in disguise), and the Opels that were really Mitsubishis in drag?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Y'all forgot about the Volks--er, Porsche 924: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porsche_924

      What Michael Karesh said about the Nova. I've seen more Novas that survive to this day more so than the Corollas of the same generation.

      Also, unless you're counting the years that the Nova became the Chevrolet/Geo Prizm (again a rebadged Corolla), it lasted until 1988, not 1998 (take a look at the Wikipedia article again).

      @Nick: The Vision was just a rebadged Dodge Intrepid. What was even worse was that the (almost-a-Renault) Eagle Premier was rebadged as the Dodge Monaco: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eagle_Premier
      What was Giorgetto Giugiaro thinking when he designed that box?

      Anyhow, if the Geo Storm is on the list, then the Chevrolet/Geo Metro needs to be on the list for the same reason: GM takes a well-performing, but sadly overlooked car (the Suzuki Swift, especially the GTi), gives it the lowest-performing engine, and tries to pass it off as the original, making the original cars suffer.
      • 8 Years Ago
      And the best part about owning a collaboration (in this case a turbo DSM), is that Chrysler dealers will say "yeah, that thing has a V6, right?" and Mitsu didn't sell anything with a 4G63 turbo and AWD until the EVO VIII (by which time everything important on an early DSM had been replaced). Combined with the fact that Mitsu dealers go out of business here faster than you can drive away, break down, and come back (which is pretty fast), it's not a great situation.

      I'm just waiting for the Great Sport Compact Collector Market Boom of 2045, when a mint Civic Si will sell for a new record of $10,000,000,000.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Why no love for the LUV? Besides being a generic underpowered pickup truck, what was so bad? My grandpa owned one for his carpet business, and besides it getting stolen 4 or 5 times in L.A. it ran forever.

      On the other hand, my parents owned a Eagle Premiere. Athetically, a very nice car. Mechanically, well...I spent half my childhood sitting in the dealership with my mom waiting for it to be fixed. It was so bad that I was (and probably still am) forbidden to talk about it in front of my dad. The end result? Turned my parents off of American cars forever.
      • 8 Years Ago


      some iteresting comments here; well intentioned I'm sure, but way off.

      1) who can speak from personal experience about the Eagle Premier and Dodge Monaco (1988-1991)? I have one of each, both 1991s, and have owned eight. I bought the Premier as a parts car for the Monaco, but I'm still waiting to need something. the Monaco has 298,000 miles, still with the orignal engine and transmission. averages (V-6) around 30 MPG on the highway. still looks modern today. the engnine was a joint venture between Volvo, Peugeot, and Renault, and was used in the Delorean. it's quite indestructible.

      2) the Allante was designed by Pininfarina, and was built in Italy. it came back to the USA on specially outfitted Alitalia 747s, and the drivetrain was installed here. IT HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING IN COMMON WITH THE REATTA!! the Reatta had some initial design work done in the UK, but was completely assembled in the USA, in Lansing Michigan.

      3) Dodge Challenger/Plymouth Sapporo. with the exception of the first year (1978), these were incedible cars, and put competition like the Celica to shame. drive a Celica with a tractorlike 22R engine, cramped interior, and hinged-on-the-floor accelerator pedal, and then take one of these balance-shaft 2.6s out for a spin. no comparison.

      for those who don't remember the '78s, there were some styling problems. the least offensive was the Challenger, which had horrible plaid seats.

      the Sapporo didn't miss one '70's styling cliche; canopy vinyl roof, a simulated targa bar with opera lamps, wheel covers recycled from a Volare Premier, and puckered velour upholstery. they started getting their act together in 1979. the nicest looking ones were the 1981-1983 models.

      for anyone who has ever traveled abroad, you realize what a great job Chrysler stylists did with these cars. I saw many Mitsubishi models in Australia, and I couldn't belive how ugly they were compared to like Chrysler models sold in North America.

      4) Chrysler TC. it was interesting to see a knowlegable person point out how few parts interchange with a LeBaron. not many. definitely going up in value quickly, just like the Reatta.

      5)I love to see all these supposed "failure" comparisions, and am quite amused to not see a single Shelby Mustang on the list. for those of us old enough to remember when these were new, they were total flops. they sat around so long that they were many times retitled (back when you could still do it) as the next years models. the major consensus at the time was they were "just overpriced Mustangs". now, many bow at the Shelby altar; just want to fill in the true history for those who didn't know.

      6) loved the commets about the Toyota Corolla/Nova. definitely was absolutely identical to the Corolla. sounds like the usual errors in "the small timer's bible" (Consumer Reports) when it comes to reliability.
      used to love their reviews of like models (the Chrysler minivans come to mind), and the Dodge and Plymouth versions would have different reliability charts for the short and long wheelbase versions. same drivetrain, different results.

      Mike
      • 8 Years Ago
      Failures:
      Dodge Stealth
      Chrysler Conquest
      Ford Probe - OK it sold, but really, it sucked.
      Mazda Navajo
      Ford Fiesta circa 1992 (Was it a Kia?)
      Chevy Luv Truck oops, already mentioned.
      Eagle Premier - what was this thing? A Volvo?
      Chrysler Sebring Coupe
      Dodge Avenger
      Chrysler Crossfire

      From the above list, you would think Chrysler would learn not to collaborate/rebadge.

      The only import rebadged as a domestic that I can think of that was really a success is the Eagle Talon. Others?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Oddly, though, the TC by Maserati is still worth something today, has some fantastic interior touches, and was hand built. It may look a lot like a LeBaron, but there are maybe 3 interchangable parts.
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