What were they thinking?
What were they thinking?
News item: BMW'S top U.S. sales executive says he is disappointed in the 5-series GT, Automotive News reports. "The disappointment I have is that I thought a lot of our 5-series station wagon customers would go with the GT," Jim O'Donnell says. "In point of fact, that is not happening. We have lost those customers to the competition -- mainly to Mercedes-Benz.

With its ungainly lift back and high load floor, the 5-series GT produced a lot of comments along the lines of "What were they thinking?" when it was introduced two years ago, but now it is official: Even BMW makes mistakes.

Designing and engineering new models is part art, part science: a billion-dollar bet on what the car buying public will want for years into the future. The deepest pitfalls come in trying to head off in a new direction, like a convertible minivan or an SUV with a coupe body. Despite all the market research, focus groups, and educated guesses, car companies can get it wrong. The design fails to catch hold, the market doesn't develop, competition proves stronger than expected. Bottom line: They blew it.

Herewith, ten of the biggest mistakes currently on the market -- plus two lulus from years past.

Last updated June 03 2011: 9:20 AM ET
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