NEW YORK (Money Magazine) -
It is amazing, sometimes, how careful corporate planning can go so very wrong.
Volkswagen Phaeton -- The conventional excuse for the Phaeton's dismal sales is that no one would pay $70,000-plus for a VW. But the Phaeton's larger handicap is that it can't claim luxury-class leadership -- not in design, power, technology or price. It's blandly styled, its performance is hamstrung by a half-ton weight penalty vs. some rivals, and its projected resale value is worst-in-class.
Ford Five Hundred -- When the best you can say about a car is that it's got a really big trunk and it's not very expensive, that's a problem. Meet the new Ford Five Hundred. The exterior is a blah knockoff of a VW Passat, the cabin nondescript. Plus, the designers of this Taurus replacement forgot to replace the engine: Its old 203-horse V-6 is weak and noisy. Ford already plans to "readjust" production.
Pontiac GTO --
A beefy Corvette V-8. Check. A decent (for GM) interior, rear-wheel drive, and competent handling. So far, so good. But then Pontiac wrapped its would-be hottie in a body that looks more like a Chevy Cavalier than its namesake, the '60s muscle car you dreamed of owning. No performance automobile in years has turned fewer heads or opened fewer wallets.