12 Of 2016’s Most Tragically Undersold Cars

Published January 18, 2017

In every generation of cars, there are those that should have done better but fell short. In some cases they featured new tech while others are great fun to drive but not enough people experienced it. Here are 12 of the most tragically undersold cars that 2016 had to offer us.

1 – Alfa Romeo 4C

Alfa Romeo isn’t a brand that has been seen in the US very often for a very long time but 2016 was an especially rough year. It offers the excitement and feel that cars like Ferraris give but for a fraction of the price. A healthy engine tied to a dual clutch transmission and a lightweight body weren’t enough to get it off of show room floors. Less than 500 units moved in the US market in all of 2016.

2 – BMW’s 3 Series

The 3 Series is a great combination of a functional sedan and a great all around car to drive daily. Its sporty features as well as room to take the whole family along managed to see a drop in sales. Year end sales in 2016 managed to come in thirty percent lower than 2015’s numbers.

3 – BMW’s i3

The i3 is essentially an electric proof of concept with rear wheel drive that actually turned out to be a good commuter. However, consumer reactions called it ugly and accused BMW of using it just to flaunt their new technologies. As a result, 2016 only saw around 7000 i3 models make it from dealerships to the open road.

4 – Porsche’s Cayman and Boxster

These are two models from Porsche that keep getting better and better with each and every model year. Each update sees more power, better handling, and refined interiors as well as exteriors. These are essentially the base level for their sports cars with reasonable price points. These two are lumped together because even combined, they couldn’t outsell the 911 in 2016.

5 – Chevrolet’s SS

Magnetic ride control in a six speed sedan with a V8 under the hood sounds pretty good to us. It’s the kind of mix that makes for a great daily driver that’s fun to drive with the power at the rear wheels. Even with these features ready to go from the dealership, 2016 only saw 3013 SS take off for a cruise.

6 – Ford Fiesta

There’s a strange back and forth going on between Europe and America with this model. While purchases drop off on this side of the Atlantic, they’re surging in the EU with good reason. This small hatch is a blast to drive from day one and offers great handling plus utility. Its 2016 US sales dipped down to only 45,000, a 25% loss form 2015’s 60,000 units moved.

7 – Subaru BRZ/Scion FRS/Toyota 86

While they all wear different badges, underneath they’re all the same car that offer a fun sporty drive. They fall into the realm of affordable sports cars and offer the rear wheel drive that this class is known for. Part of the dismal sales may have been a loss of consumer confidence when Toyota folded Scion back in. The rest of the reasoning is a total mystery because these small sports cars can take you for a fun spin in a hurry.

8 – Volkswagen’s Golf R

The R was a performance take on a hatch that is so well known in European and American markets. Right out of the factory is came with a sharp look and 292 turbocharged horsepower. It also had an attractive all wheel drive platform but somehow that only got 4000 of them to move in all of 2016.

9 – Nissan’s GT-R

We get it, the GT-R can be a daunting vehicle to even think about buying, its nickname is Godzilla after all. That said, it’s been around for a decade now and has always had a reputation for performance. From its ability to get up and go right from the factory, we’re surprised that it isn’t more desired in the US. However, it has been rising in price year over year and this is likely why just over 650 units moved in 2016.

10 – Mini’s Cooper

Mini has been increasing their market share and branching into larger vehicles lately. No matter what they do, their focus and result is always a fun drive withe the Cooper leading their pack. It has a great road feel and handles smoothly but sales keep dropping off for some reason. 2016 saw new purchases of the Cooper cut in half from 2015’s figures.

11 – Mazda’s MX-5 Miata

The Miata is a lightweight and all around fun car to drive packed into a small form factor. Sharp handling and the ability to drop the top for an exciting cruise weren’t enough to get it moving. Despite having a great fan base and strong platform for the modding community, only about 10000 sold.

12 – Dodge’s Viper

With the end of the Viper’s production run coming up in 2017, we’re surprised these weren’t flying off lots. Over its time, the appearance and performance have been improved year over year. They only come with manual transmission which may scare off a good umber of buyers. The price tends to skew a little to the high side which also contributes to the V10 only moving 571 units in 2016.

With all of these in mind, there are surprises that went the other way as well. Some vehicles that we expect to do well in the US market end up tanking while others with low projected sales take off. This is part of what makes the automotive industry such an exciting one for consumers. Unexpected trends like these lead companies to create even better vehicles to appeal to different ranges of potential buyers. Here’s hoping that 2017 has just as many twists and turns in store for those of us who love to see new automotive trends.

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James Murrell
About James Murrell

I love to research and admire all sorts of vehicles from restored classics to top shelf supercars, monstrous offroaders to weird concept vehicles. I absolutely adore any vehicle I can get behind the wheel of.

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