Chevrolet Volt'Tis the season for thin news cycles and cheesy top ten lists. Yahoo! Finance has thrown its hat in the top ten ring with its list of the biggest flops among all consumer goods introduced for 2011. Both the Fiat 500 and Chevrolet Volt have made it among the chosen few, rubbing elbows with such luminaries as Netflix's Qwikster and Disney's Mars Needs Moms.

Why the Volt? Yahoo! points to the vehicle's underwhelming sales, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration fire investigation and misguided General Motors executives as indicators of the plug-in hybrid's failure. We think that's a bit harsh given the fact that the Volt wasn't on sale across the country for most of the year, and we've harped on how absurd the NHTSA fire issue is in the past, so we'll save the digital ink here.

And what of the Fiat 500? It's no secret the adorable Italian hatchback has missed its sales goals by a country mile. While Chrysler had hoped to move 50,000 models this year, actual U.S. sales for the year will probably end up around 20,000 units, which really isn't too bad. Those early sales targets were picked straight from the crazy buffet to begin with, and the fact that the 500 suffered production delays, dealership network woes and a botched marketing effort didn't help matters. Still, do those issues make the 500 one of the biggest product flops of 2011?

For our money, it's too early to call either of these vehicles flops – moving 20,000 relatively expensive very small cars for a new-to-the-U.S. (well, "new again," at least) brand doesn't sound too bad to us, and putting the Volt on the list when it wasn't available to most consumers strikes us as Yahoo! Finance trolling for controversy. What say you? Drop us a line in Comments...


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  • 198 Comments
      CarsAtWork
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think some people miss the point of the question. The question is not "do you like the cars?" it's "were they flops?", and for the same reasons stated above, I would argue no. As cars go, there were much bigger flops this year. Honda Civic, anyone? It flopped so bad that they're moving up the mid-cycle refresh. And lets not forget about what it means for a car to really flop. I give you the Pontiac Aztek, Dodge Caliber, Lincoln Blackwood....
      amac
      • 3 Years Ago
      Anything that Yahoo! "news" reports should be taken with a grain of salt.
      Lara
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think those JLo ads drove every men in the country away from the dealerships! Remember what happened to the Chrysler Pacifica when Celine Dion was the spokeperson? The 500 it's heading right in the same pathway and as the original 'new bettle', it will be remembered as a chicks car. I also agree is to early to consider the Volt as a flop. It's a new territory that Chevy is exploring and it will take some time for people to switch from fuel to electric cars. We all know other car companies, including chinese brands are already developing electric prototypes.
      Guy Inkägnētō
      • 3 Years Ago
      The marketing for the Fiat 500 has been downright terrible. They need to get their ass in gear if they want to start moving the 1/2 year supply off their lots and onto driveways. J.Lo, really? Way to alienate male car buyers. Should have got a more gender neutral pitchman like George Clooney (as Fiat did with one of their domestic models). They definitely need to expand the turbo offerings down the line up as well. Not everyone who wants a more powerful Fiat 500 will settle for a manual-only pocket rocket. How about offering a turbo option (like their 1.4T Multiair with 130hp) on the Lounge and Sport models? Fiat needs to act now if they want to be the next Mini, otherwise they'll end up as another Smart.
      Andrew B
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think its a shame that Fiat has to suffer a flop for a car that was successful in Europe and, to me, is a great progression of the style the Cinquecento is today. I remember driving in my uncle's when I was a kid. Most people who told me they considered getting the new one once it came to the States but didn't told me because the 500's mpg's were roughly similar to that of a Mini or other small car with more room. As for the Volt, if the Nissan Leaf had as much of a political following, it would suffer the same fate. Any car would...
      Tweaker
      • 3 Years Ago
      That Yahoo Finance sees the Volt how they do is a direct result of "news" reported by people like AutoBlog. What ever happened to Eric Loveday anyway?
      Michael S
      • 3 Years Ago
      As the owner of a Classic Mini Cooper, and a total Euro Car who has owned a number of vintage Fiats, I was excited about the new 500. But everything Fiat has done to promote the car (with the exception of the cool "studios") has made the car a flop. Instead of promoting the car as a romanticized commuter that turns the 91 freeway into the Italian countryside every time you slip behind the wheel, they had some burned out pop star promote it as a fashion accessory for middle-aged women. Sorry guys but a guy just can't drive the Jay-Lo car. I rented one on a business trip and did a review on my own blog, it was the Sport model, but when you start to look at the lame tom tom navigation, the bad ergonomics, and the even the squishy handling you might as well get a base model and fix everything yourself, or just buy a new Mini Cooper. So I decided to walk into a studio and see what the bottom line was, find out about ordering, and get more info on the Abarth model. The first dealer I went to here in Southern California did not even know what Fiat stood for let alone what an Abarth was. So I tried another dealer, but instead of incompetent service I was met with no service, after 20 mins of walking the lot, wondering the showroom, walking into the back and waving at several employees who could not be bothered to get up from their desks, I left. Now I worked in the car business for years before starting my own business and you would never let someone walk the lot for 20 mins. The worst part was there were two other couples and a single guy also looking for someone to try and sell them a car. Fiats big problem, when selling a impractical car it requires staff that not only are passionate about the cars, but can sell the lifestyle and the image. The Fiat 500 is a total sizzle car, if it was half the price and looked like a Yugo it would not sell, but when it comes down to it, its a Yugo with lipstick, so you have to sell that passion and romance. Its like every time I get behind the wheel of my classic Mini Cooper its not just a drive it is an adventure, its a blast, it is the only car I have kept for years, because when you drive it you can't help but have fun. That is what Fiat is missing with this 500 marketing campaign, I don't want the 500 to transport me to the projects in New York. I want to be ripping along the Rivera with a young Sophia Loren next to me, or headed to a cafe through the Lavender fields of Piedmont. Fiat did not learn the lesson from MINI who also revived a dead brand and only offered a single car, but the MINI connected to its past and driving one suddenly made you Michael Cain in the Italian Job. If I were at Fiat I would have partnered with Vespa USA to create joint studios and I would have put them in less than conventional areas,(i.e. not every former Pontiac or Saturn dealership) it should have been marked as a the fashion accessory it is.
        chickenflauta
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Michael S
        I think there's a lot of truth to what you're saying Michael. I absolutely agree. Why they didn't invoke the nostalgia of Italy and create tie-ins/partnerships with well respected Italian brands is completely a mystery to me. Fiat could easly have sold the 500 on the "Italian" image and style angle, and it would have established a very great, unique marketing angle to capture would-be Beetle or Mini Cooper buyers, and laid a great foundation for the further re-introduction of the brand in the US. By relying on so heavily an expensive celebrity endorsement, they forgot to lay out a proper brand strategy, or even decide whether or not they were targeting male or female consumers with the 500 (or at the very least, it failed to come through clearly at all). I say this as a person currently in business school studying marketing. It's a mess.
      pngrant54
      • 3 Years Ago
      I don't think the 500 has been a complete flop. What did not help sales was not having the Abarth from the beginning,lousy marketing, having a lounge model, and not enough dealers up and ready. A lot of this can be improved. Also I saw pictures of a 5Dr 500 MPV on Auto Express today. I hear it is based on a modified Fiat Panda chassis. Also it is slated to offer awd as an option. This and the Abarth will significantly enhance the 500 brand in the US.
      jnbcressy
      • 3 Years Ago
      I live in a town of 13,000 and the nearest FIAT dealer is 30 miles away in another state. I saw three at lunch time today. We have at least six Chevy dealers within 30 miles, maybe more and I've seen two volts. One in a dealer and the other driving through town weeks ago with out of state plates. Chevy dealers are well established with a complete line of cars to draw in customers. FIAT has one model with various options. Both got a late start but, I would like to drive an ABARTH not the VOLT.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        MONTEGOD7SS
        • 3 Years Ago
        The Volt will change the whole game once others copy it. No transmission losses, pure electric drive, just with a generator on board for extended driving. There will be different power sources for the generator no doubt, but that's the whole point. A pure electric driven driveline with a diesel or fuel cell generator is still the same design of the Volt, and unlike anything else you can get. I have a feeling we would agree on some things, but you need to unplug from Fox News and see what real conservatives believe and not what Bill O'Reilly wants you to believe.
          kcfenderfan
          • 3 Years Ago
          @MONTEGOD7SS
          I agree MONTEGOD, but even Fox News reported on the Consumer Reports story that the Volt has the highest owner satisfaction of any vehicle. http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2011/12/01/survey-finds-chevrolet-volt-owners-most-satisfied/ Laser also seems to misunderstand the term "Vapor." It was fine when everyone was calling it that before it came out - maybe it would never see the light of day, who knew, but you can't call a car I could go buy on my way home from work "Vapor." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaporware
        iKingston
        • 3 Years Ago
        I marked you down for the simple fact that your "article" is way too damn long. If you want people to read your rants and ridiculous thoughts, then make your own blog and stop trolling here.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @iKingston
          [blocked]
        Fixitfixitstop
        • 3 Years Ago
        I automatically vote down anybody who says "Government Motors".
        Al Terego
        • 3 Years Ago
        tl;dr
      Alluster83
      • 3 Years Ago
      I am pretty sure this has nothing to do with falling gas prices. /Sarcasm The Volt is flop? So what about the 11 Toyota-Lexus models it outsold for November? 12 if you include the defunct Lexus SC. It outsold the Scion xB, xD, Lexus HS, LS, LFA, GX, LX, FJ Cruiser, Sequoia, & Land Cruiser. That's more than 1/3rd the models Toyota sells in US (29). The volt also handily outsold the much cheaper Insight, Civic hybrid, CR-Z, Crossturd, Ridgeline, RL, and ZDX.
        notafan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Alluster83
        Nice to see that someone does their homework before blasting it into the internet stratosphere. Yahoo are you listening?
        tvelt92
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Alluster83
        Now your just being ridiculous. The lfa is a limited production super car, and the volt is mass produced sedan. So of course the volt will outsell the lfa. You really can't compare the volt to any of those Toyota/Lexus models because none of them are similar vehicles. The HS and CT would be a better comparison. The volt is outselling the failing corolla-based HS, but is lagging behind the CT hatchback.
          Nemebean
          • 3 Years Ago
          @tvelt92
          The Volt, like the Leaf, isn't really comparable to anything on the market right now. The fact that it's outselling a bunch of much more mass market vehicles (LFA excepted, obviously) is still noteworthy though.
        Tweaker
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Alluster83
        Ouch. That one is going to leave a mark.
      Howey
      • 3 Years Ago
      Ignoring comments from right wing kool-aid drinkers, it's obvious neither car has met expectations. Having seen and driven both, they are excellent vehicles that cater to a different clientele. I was especially impressed with the quality and solidity of the Fiat. We're planning on getting one as a second car in the next few months. As far as flops? Definitely the Civic. If one were to add in a lackluster vehicle with a lackluster intro, I'd include the Camry.
        MyerShift
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Howey
        I think the trolls are down voting you because you speak the truth.
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