Today the airwaves and newspapers are being bombarded with news of Toyota’s taking off at a high rate speed and drivers crashing their cars causing injuries and death. But Toyota’s problem are hardly anything new for the auto industry. We tend to forget other cars that were deemed hazardous have also had a large number of injuries and deaths due to faulty designs.
One needs to recall the 1991 to 2001 Ford Explorers. The vehicle were extremely top heavy and had a tendency to roll over. Coupled with the Firestone tires that had a problem of separating, the Explorer-Firestone combination took the lives of over 200 people. During the cash for clunkers program, 6 out of 10 vehicle turned in were Ford Explorers.
How about the Ford ‘flame thrower’ aka the Ford Pinto. This little gem in the 1971 to 1976 model years had a nasty tendency to explode when rear ended. It seems that the fuel tank placed behind the rear axle, the filler neck would have a tendency to rupture in a collision. Some 60 people were fried to death before the problem was fixed.
GM had their day with their GM ‘X’ cars produced from 1980 to 1982. These models included the Buick Skylark, Chevrolet Citation, Oldsmobile Omega and Pontiac Phoenix.These cars suffered from a variety of faulty design errors which included faulty fuel lines, a steering gear that would detached from its mount and front coil suspension problems. Some said that these cars spent more time in the shop than on the road. This began the public impression that GM was building shoddy cars.
So you think that Toyota was the first car with floor mats that pinned the gas pedal wide open? Nope. That honor goes to the 1982 to 1987 Audi 5000. Seems that the Audi 5000 sealed the car makers fate for some 10 years until the public forgot about the problem.
The 1976-1977 Dodge Aspen and Plymouth Volare hold the honor of the recall champions. The vehicles were recalled in 1977 eight times for various problems. These cars claim to fame were that they had more screw ups than any other models during the 70’s and beyond.
The Corvair. No explanation is necessary. LOL
I am not making excuses for Toyota. I am just pointing out that other car companies have also had issues in the past that caused severe injuries and deaths.