The luxury game is a tricky one: consumer tastes can change within a matter of months, driving sales of one subset of the category into the ground while dragging another into the limelight. Look, for instance, at the current craze surrounding luxury crossovers, which have essentially replaced the sedan as the de facto form factor for premium automobiles: according to car-shopping website Edmunds, CUVs and SUVs account for 56 percent of the luxury market in 2017, a 14 percent increase in overall market share compared to 2014. For an industry as inflexible as the auto business, reacting to those pivots is incredibly difficult. Manufacturers sometimes have to resort to gambling on what the next big thing will be in order to gain an edge over rivals. Sometimes, those bets pay off, and in spectacular fashion: Mercedes-Benz, with the first-generation CLS, basically kick started the four-door coupe trend and inspired legions of imitators. Of course, for every success story, there’s a miserable failure. Anyone remember the Lincoln Blackwood, Ford’s much-maligned attempt to turn a pickup truck into a bona-fide luxury vehicle?
The moral the story is that a company, even ones as well-funded as internationally-recognized automakers, can provide a completely accurate assessment of what a highly malleable market will look like in five years. Heck, even tastemakers that influence buyer trends instead of being influenced bythem get it wrong sometimes, as the following list attests. Of course, as the following list attests, there’s a difference between a company cranking out a car that’s flat-out bad versus building something good that simply didn’t resonate with consumers.
THEY WANT FORGOTTEN: ASTON MARTIN LAGONDA
The Lagonda was a car far ahead of its time. Maybe too far ahead. Under the angular bodywork (itself a radical departure from Aston’s other contemporary offerings) is a cockpit playing host to a variety of bleeding-edge amenities.
Released in 1976, it was the first car to feature a completely digital instrument panel, initially lit by LEDs but replaced with cathode ray tubes in later iterations.
Not only that, it also featured touch-sensitive buttons for the lights, power locks, air conditioning, and seat controls. I know what you’re thinking: complicated electronic systems in a British car from the 1970s? Well rest assured, reader; it went exactly as you’d expect. Only 645 were originally built, priced at the loft inflation-adjusted sum of $460,000. Most estimates place the total number of roadworthy examples as being much, much lower.