last month came out of the factory, the last Volkswagen Phaeton, and with him went one of the failures of commercial biggest. It happens that a product which a priori may seem bright not so when the sales do not reach the figures initially estimated, the costs are not amortized, and the plan of viability of the product fails miserably, in a way that inexorably, a mark never pays back its development. In recent years we have seen notable instances, often of interesting products, and even good, they never came to pay for itself. Among the most well known is the Volkswagen Phaeton, but it is not the only one, these ten cars were considered for a study of the investment firm AllianceBernstein (see study) as the biggest failures of the recent history of the automobile.
Bugatti Veyron: 4,6 million euros per car
The Bugatti Veyron is the paradigm of a car with a few losses astronomical. Cost of development very high, over 1,200 million euros, worthy of a program of Formula 1, and a production in series very limited, would that it were not enough with an astronomical price, over the million euros, to cover the cost of its development.
needless to say, the Bugatti Veyron has been one of the sports that has given what to talk about in the last decade. But what really justifies their losses that push the picture of the Volkswagen Group? How can you contribute to the Bugatti into the Volkswagen Group sells more units of the Polo, the Golf, the Skoda and the SEAT?
Volkswagen Phaeton: 28.101 euros per car
Is one of the failures of the most notorious, but not the only one of the group automobile German. Volkswagen is proposed to compete with the sedans of luxury and representation, and for this reason did not hesitate to deploy all its resources on a project, the Volkswagen Phaeton, which exceeded 2,000 million euros, and as mentioned in this dossier of Automotive News not only involved the development of a new platform, from scratch, but also the lifting of a spectacular new factory in Dresden.
Renault Vel Satis: 18.712 euros per car
The Renault Vel Satis is another good example of how to “get your feet of the ground” can often cost you a painful failure. Renault had proposed to launch a vehicle of practical luxury, well-equipped, and with a design transgressor. And they got it, but with just 50,000 units sold throughout their business cycle they could never amortize the 1,200 million euros invested in it.
Peugeot 1007: 15,000 euros per car
often the problems come when a manufacturer proposes a development exotic, or innovative. The Peugeot 1007 is a good example of this and how a technical solution is very complex, coupled with the misunderstanding of the buyer, may carry one manufacturer to the costs of development are skyrocketing, the price of the product is too high, and sales not accompanying. Peugeot has invested nearly 1,900 million euros in a product that they hoped to be between 150,000 and 200,000 units, but in their best year, in 2005, hardly exceeded 53,000 units.
Audi A2: 7.532 euro per car
On more than one occasion I have professed my devotion for the Audi A2, a vehicle for innovation in all senses, a true advance of his time. But that technology used in this little minivan came as a result of an investment of over 1,300 million euros, a high cost that it did not help that the sales repuntasen, and a price that I could barely leave room for the benefits. The 50,000 units per year that had been initially planned to only reach in 2002 and the Audi A2 would enjoy a commercial life really, really short, only for five years.
Jaguar X-Type 4.687 euros per car
When the expectations are not realistic, and the price does not accompanies, the failure is guaranteed. It was probably what happened with the Jaguar X-Type, which became the perfect storm when the customers realized that it was little more than a Ford Mondeo with a tuxedo. Jaguar had thought that they would sell more than 200,000 units a year, and throughout its commercial life just got to sell 362.000 units. This never would amortize the 1,700 million euros invested and would help to ensure that Ford apostase by getting rid of its british subsidiary, which would end up in the hands of indian equity, of the empire of Tata.
smart fortwo I: 4.470 eur per car
The feat of launching such an innovative product and at the same time advanced as the smart fortwo also cost him a lot of trouble to Daimler, which has invested 3.350 million euros in one of its most ambitious projects of the last decades. The smart not only had to be in the range of prices high for its size, as a result of solutions advanced techniques to ensure your safety, but even required the opening of a new factory in France, and was always away from the expectations that had been marked from the manufacturer.
Renault Laguna: 3.548 euros per car
The Renault Laguna is another notable case of how a product can fail in its attempt to position itself in a category that is not theirs, and even face-planting to the domain of the luxury sedan imposed by the germans. The figures are not accompanied to the investment of 1,500 million euros invested by Renault in this Lagoon, which to make matters worse he had to fight against adversity in a market in which the sedan was to lose ground progressively in favor of the crossover and the SUV. How will amend the error with the new Renault Talisman?
Fiat Stilo: 2.729 eur per car
Said in Bernstein that the biggest mistake of the Fiat Stilo was the thought that the customer would buy “an Italian version of the Volkswagen Golf.” That mistake would cost him dearly to Fiat, which has practically dragged its consequences until our days. The Fiat Stilo was a huge investment of 2.1 million euros, and he would not even approach to the business expectations that had been placed on him, so that Fiat would sell just 20% of the units that had planned to produce initially.
Mercedes A-Class I: 1.443 euros per car
As already mentioned, the biggest problem with a product is not from a base of already amortized, or long-term can be amortized with other models derived from that same platform. That was the great problem of the first Mercedes A-Class, especially after her publicized failure in the test of a moose. Mercedes-Benz was unable to repay the 1,700 million euros invested, but he learned a valuable lesson that has certainly helped to brand the star, not to repeat their mistakes. The new generation of the Mercedes A-Class has not only come from the hand of a five-door very correct, and recommended, but also of a whole range of compact cars that includes a crossover (the Mercedes GLA), a sedan with sports line coupe (the Mercedes CLA), and even an exotic shooting brake (the Mercedes CLA Shooting Brake).