The automotive world is littered with success stories of automakers coming up with surprising hits, creating design icons from scratch and capturing the attention of the industry out of the blue (VW Golf, Audi TT, Ford Focus). The way down is often much slower – carmakers gradually give up their dominant position in design until they become a shadow of their former selves – think Cadillac post-1960s, or Audi over the past decade. But sometimes the downfall is sudden and sharp, when in one generation the automaker turns a design leader into a design stinker. This article is the first in a series documenting exactly such cars. Browse through the pics to see the first five offenders and nominate your own candidates in the comment box below.