Here’s a list of automakers that have suffered reputational and financial loss as a result of faulty designs.
The recent settlement between federal regulators and German automaker Volkswagen (VLKAY) marks the end of one of the biggest, and most costly scandals in the auto industry in history.
The Wolfsburg, Germany-based automaker said Wednesday it would pay around $1 billion to repurchase or fix another 80,000 emission-cheating and air-polluting diesel-powered vehicles. The fine, which brings VW’s total payout related to the emissions snafu to $18 billion, is steep and the affected models date back to year 2009. The cars affected — Audi, VW and Porsche — that were sold in the United States were fitted with a “defeat device” that would allow them to beat pollution measuring tests.
“The agreement announced by the Court today between Volkswagen and U.S. environmental regulators is another important step forward in our efforts to make things right for our customers, and we support the efforts of the Court to bring about a fair and reasonable resolution of remaining 3.0L TDI V6 claims as quickly as possible,” said VW America CEO Hinrich Woebcken. “We are committed to earning back the trust of all our stakeholders and thank our customers and dealers in the United States for their patience as the process moves forward.”
VW shares rose about 2% to €144.20 in Germany and extended their three-month gain past 10%. The stock touched its highest level since Dec. 28, 2015. However, the price still sits shy of the €162 level it traded at prior to the revelation of the emissions-cheating schemes in September 2015.
So, where does VW’s emissions scandal rank among the worst automotive industry blunders and recalls in history? TheStreet takes a look:
General Motors — 1965 -1969
Ford Pinto — 1971-1976
A design flaw made the Pinto’s gas tank susceptible to becoming pierced by the bolts and catching fire in a rear-end collision. After reports of up to 180 deaths and a total of $7 million in fines and penalties later, the automaker recalled 7.9 million vehicles and replaced ignition switches.
Audi 5000 — 1978-1986
In 1987, Audi agreed to recall about 250,000 of its 1978 through 1986 model 5000 cars, which have been plagued with sudden, unintended acceleration. The number of recalls wasn’t large by any historical standards but the news almost knocked the luxury brand Audi out of the American market. Audi U.S. sales plunged 84% between 1985 and 1991.
Chevrolet pickups — 1973-1983
1995 Takata Seat Belt Scandal
The Takata Corporation of Japan used to supply seatbelts for nearly every major auto maker but that all changed after an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that the faulty design of the belt could literally trap the driver and passengers in their seats.
Bridgestone-Firestone Tires — 2000
Lexus — 2006-2010
The company later was forced to revamp the design, issue a recall of 9 million cars and lose billions of dollars as a result.
Audi A6 and A7 — 2012-2013
The affected models were reported to have a fuel hose in the engine compartment that may degrade and leak fuel. The fuel leak in turn could the cause the cars to catch on fire.
Dodge Chargers and Chrysler 300s — 2012-2014
In 2014 Fiat agreed to merge with Chrysler worth $4.4 billion. The new company is Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU) , and is based in London. Its U.S. unit remains in Auburn Hills, Mich.