The international reputation of American carmakers during the Malaise Era—the period of successive oil crises, regulation-choked engines and general crap quality lasting from 1973 to the mid-1980s—was, in a word, bad. So bad that former Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein once nixed a deal to buy 25,000 specially-built 1981 Chevrolet Malibus from General Motors after the first 12,500 reportedly arrived in Iraq riddled with defects, inadvertently creating a now-rare piece of automotive history in the process.
Unfortunately, the Iraqi government claimed the cars were total lemons. Between a litany of reported build quality issues and a notoriously sticky clutch on the Saginaw three-speed transmission, well... I think a reporter from the CBC put it best at the time: "They've been running so badly and breaking so often, that the Iraqis aren't much interesting in having 12,500 more." Saddam called off the deal.
None of this is verified, but in the decades since there's been open speculation that Saddam simply axed the deal to save money as the horrific, eight-year-long Iran-Iraq War heated up.
Back in Canada, the Iraqi Taxi Malibus were especially desirable to GM factory workers, who knew that there was actually little (if anything) wrong with most of the cars. Demand was high and the cars quickly sold. So what began for GM as a business nightmare probably ended better than the company expected.