The worst product flops of 2012
None of these offerings were on the market much longer than a few months.
Plenty of successful products were launched this year, from the iPhone 5 to "The Avengers." All launches require investment, ranging from thousands of hours of research and development to millions of dollars in marketing expenses. Yet success is not guaranteed. Editors at 24/7 Wall St. took a fresh look at 2012's launches to identify the biggest flops.
To be considered a flop, a product must have a significant level of investment behind it. Once the product was released, the failure had to have happened quickly. None of the products on this list was on the market much longer than a few months. Finally, the consequences of the failure had to be measurable, in terms of a company's reputation and, in some cases, the bottom line.
One company, Sony (SNE), has two products on the list.
Here's a look at some of the worst product flops of 2012.
1. Apple Maps
When Apple (AAPL) upgraded its operating platform to iOS6, the company decided to dump Google Maps and replace it with its own product. When the service debuted in September, a host of problems arose. Users quickly noticed incorrect information. Some images were only in black and white, and some points on the map were obscured by clouds.
The fiasco was so bad that CEO Tim Cook wrote a public letter of apology. When Apple’s senior vice president of iOS software, Scott Forstall, refused to sign the letter, he was shown the door. As the company tried to solve the problem, it recommended using its competitor's services. This month, Google Maps returned to the iPhone and became the most downloaded app in the iTunes store within a day of its release.
2. Dodge Dart
Chrysler placed a great deal of emphasis on the Dart, hoping it could compete with other compact cars, such as the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Ford Focus. The company began its marketing campaign during the Major League Baseball All-Star game with an ad featuring NFL quarterback Tom Brady. Even though Chrysler aimed for the fences, the Dart appears to have struck out.
Initial sales were as low as 200 units a month. And although Chrysler managed to sell 4,500 Darts in November, it was well below sales of the Civic and Corolla, which sold 30,075 and 22,255, respectively, during the period. Chrysler did not have experience selling compact cars in the same manner it had selling Jeeps and trucks, analysts at Edmunds.com said. Consumer Reports denied the Dart its "recommended" rating due to powertrain deficiencies.
3. 'John Carter'
Company: Walt Disney
"John Carter" was touted by Walt Disney (DIS), but the ingredients for success were never there. The director, Andrew Stanton, had not previously directed a live-action feature. The executives producing the film had minimal experience running a movie production. The reviews were, to be generous, mixed. The science-fiction movie, which cost $250 million to make and another $100 million to promote, opened with a meager $30.6 million in U.S. ticket sales. Foreign sales helped, but those sales quickly fell. Disney said shortly after the release it would take a $200 million write-down on the movie, making it the biggest box-office dud ever.
4. Sony Tablet P
Sony (SNE) designed the Tablet P to make mobile computing more portable. The P features a clamshell design that allows the device to fit into a pocket. This feature, however, resulted in a flaw that ruined the device for most users. In order to fold, the screen is split in half by a large, black hinge, which makes playing games and reading incredibly awkward.
Because of the screen split -- as well as complaints about the operating system and touchscreen sensitivity -- the P garnered horrible reviews. In response to poor sales, the device was sold at a steep discount -- dropped from $549 to $199. In August, Sony announced it would be updating the Android operating system to the latest Jelly Bean version for the Sony Tablet S, but that the P would not be updated. The company is no longer selling the tablet on its U.S. website.
Want to see more of the year's worst product flops? Head over to 24/7 Wall St.
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The original Dart was a mid-sized solid car available as a sedate Grannymobile with 4 doors and the indestructible 225-Slant Six, or a 2-door 6, or a 2-door firebreathing dragon with anything from a 318 2-barrel to a 340 4-barrel to a big-block Hemi. You could even mail-order one with aluminum panels and no interior for a not-street-legal drag strip racer. It RULED the drags in the late 60's. The original Dart had few frills, but it was an 'economy' car back when that mean it didn't cost much. I had a friend who had one with a 318 and 3-on-the-tree that would sit still at stop signs smoking the tires all day. I had 2 of them myself, a 6 and a 318.
They absolutely didn't care if you ever changed their oil.
Not even the vaunted Japs can build a car like that today...most Jap cars have such highly-machined tolerances that missing just 2 oil changes can send them to the junkyard.
Carmakers should have learned by now, but apparently there is no shortage of stupid. Hey, Detroit: Don't jack around with the buyers when you name a new car. We A) remember the original, and B) remember the original. Slapping a classic nameplate on a rattle-trap death-box is poor PR. Just like the Jap cracker-box that GM rolled out in the 80's with the "Chevy Nova" nameplate on it.
I actually liked the movie John Carter. Maybe the acting wasn't the best but it was a fun movie to watch!
When they have the Fiat 500 which is fun and cheap, why would they try to sell the Dart?
And, I saw John Carter - this had to be a criminally bad marketing job, as this was a really enjoyable popcorn flick
And the computer things were obviously never beta tested - ya gotta work te bugs out before you bring it to market, no matter how much you feel the competition breathing down your neck!
"Actually, as a flop, I'd say Romney Ryan campaign. Incredible amount of money for a product that didn't find traction."... bob in ia.
Let's not forget the fool behind the wheel-- KARL ROVE. Karl... you ARE the biggest LOSER.
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