10 European Cars That Haven’t Made It in the U.S.

European automobiles are often held up as examples of superior design and technology. But going back to the very beginnings of the auto industry, there have been more than a few duds, models that for a variety of reasons never took off with American consumers. Here are ten European cars, some with colorful histories, that never made it in the U.S.

  1. Fiat 500

    U.S. sales of the Italian designed Fiat 500 plummeted back in the mid-'90s, but the car still continues to sell, albeit not all that well. Fiat's recent merger with Chrysler has resulted in a European-designed, Mexico-assembled automobile with a Detroit-made engine.

  2. Renault 14

    The French-made Renault 14 (pictured above) terrified potential drivers thanks to an idiotic marketing campaign comparing the car to a pear. That is, a piece of fruit you can crush with one hand…

  3. Yugo

    Voted the "Worst Car of the Millennium" by Car Talk, the heavily flawed Serbian Yugo arrived in the U.S. in the mid-'80s only to disappear from the market by the early '90s.

  4. Citroën SM

    The SM was a well-loved manly man's car — Tonight Show host Jay Leno owns one — produced by French manufacturer Citroën from 1970 to 1975. However, it required European-based specialist care in order to run smoothly and safely. Sales plummeted once U.S. consumers became aware of this.

  5. Peugeot 505

    French manufacturer Peugeot's U.S. sales were always sluggish, and the marque eventually disappeared in the mid-'80s. The 505 was one of the last Peugeot models to be sold in the U.S., and it didn't sell too badly, but consumers in general have never warmed up to French automobiles.

  6. Skoda 105/120/125

    These three variations of the Czech-created rear-engine model produced between 1976 and 1989 were hopelessly dated when it came to design and technology. The cars made it as far as the Canadian market before being discontinued in 1990.

  7. Merkur XR and Merkur Scorpio

    Here are two examples of Ford's attempt in the mid- to late-'80s to sell a European car to U.S. consumers that "looked" European (or just strange, depending on who you asked). Poor sales and new safety requirements for U.S. models including air bags contributed to Ford's decision to end production of these two cars.

  8. BMW E36

    In spite of being a hit with European drivers, a high price tag and a hatchback (hunchback?) body style put U.S. buyers off from what was marketed as an "economy" BMW.

  9. Peel P50

    Initially created in 1962 by Peel Engineering on the Isle of Man, the discontinued, now recently revived Peel P50 boasts three wheels and an electric motor with a top speed of 50 mph, although EU and U.K. laws require it to stay below 28 mph. If it takes off in England and the price of oil continues to skyrocket, who knows? Maybe there's a future in the U.S. for the world's slowest car?

  10. Porsche 928

    Germany's Porsche AG's attempt to upgrade their popular Porsche 911. The price and look of the car (which apparently offended fans of the 911) ultimately doomed it to be discontinued, although not before developing its own fanbase.

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