Avoid the need to hose down your holdings! Read our special series on stocks that will burn your portfolio.

With its one-star Motley Fool CAPS rating and a share price in the doldrums, it seems that investors the market over agree that Ford (NYSE:F) is a company that only a mother could love.

The financial media is quick to point to $4-per-gallon gasoline as the root of Ford's problems, but the company was careening into a ditch well before it cost upward of $100 to fill up a Ford F-150. The company's debt load and huge fixed-cost structure have proved to be heavy burdens, and the company has been slowly ceding share in its bread-and-butter U.S. market to foreign rivals Toyota (NYSE:TM), Honda (NYSE:HMC), and Nissan (NASDAQ:NSANY).

The numbers tell the tale: Ford hasn't posted a return on invested capital above 2% since 1999. Ouch. Tack on that long-standing massive debt and restructuring plans that date back to the early years of the George W. Bush presidency, and it is clear that Ford's struggles are more than just a newfound problem. Oh, and in case you're wondering, not only have Toyota, Honda, and Nissan -- those smooth foreign operators -- all posted marvelously superior financial results compared to Ford over the past several years, but they all also sport CAPS ratings of three stars or higher. Talk about rubbing salt in the wound.

Of course, Ford isn't alone in its waning value. Automotive cohort General Motors (NYSE:GM) is another unloved, one-star stock with dismal recent results. Both of these down-and-out autos could see their shares accelerate if the market turns, but for my money, Fools who value their hard-earned savings would do best looking elsewhere.

Do you agree with Fool readers that Ford deserves a one-star rating? Join our CAPS community, and place your vote today!

Fool contributor Colleen Paulson owns shares of Honda and loves her 1999 Honda Accord. Nissan is a Global Gains recommendation. The Fool's disclosure policy is always a five-star investment.