The Unlucky 13: Ill-Fated Cars to be Discontinued after 2018
A Sad Goodbye To The Dodge Viper!
Every year, automakers are faced with the decision as to which models will be built during the upcoming model years. A lot of things go into such decisions, but profitability and sales volume are huge determiners. If a vehicle isn’t performing well enough in its market and re-stylings won’t save it, it’s bound to find itself among this list of cars to be discontinued after 2018.
So, what does that mean for the average consumer? Usually, it means that the models to be discontinued will be discounted. The later in the calendar year, the steeper the discounts will become. Since we are about halfway through September, the discounts are about to start jumping. Here is a baker’s dozen of cars to be discontinued after 2018 that bargain hunters should keep an eye on.
The Volkswagen Touareg was introduced for the 2004 model year. It arrived on an early wave of the craze for upscale crossovers. The Touareg is sportier and more luxurious than most mainstream SUVs, but doesn’t really standout from the other upscale models. Unfortunately for the Touareg’s future, the added luxury priced it out of many buyers range. VW is not going to abandon the segment altogether, though. The company is introducing the Atlas for 2018. The Atlas is being manufactured in North America and is more affordably priced than the Touareg.
Introduced in 2009, the Volkswagen CC is a stylish and well-equipped entry-level luxury sedan. Despite its wide array of equipment and solid dependability, the four-door CC is VW’s lowest-volume car. Sales are down by a touch more than 45% so far this year and are sinking steadily. Sales are so bad that VW sells 40 Jettas for every CC that leaves a dealer’s lot. VW remains hopeful that it can gain a foothold in the near-luxury four-door market, however. VW will be replacing the CC with the Arteon sometime in mid-cycle 2018.
The loss of the Dodge Viper is the saddest thing we have ever had to type. Chrysler introduced the Dodge Viper in 1992 when its lineup contained more junk than a scrap yard. The only thing Chrysler was selling in 1992 was minivans and a few boxy, underwhelming cars. Then, all of a sudden and completely out of nowhere, the V10 Viper hit the pavement. Buyers started to get excited about a Chrysler product for the first time in decades. Unfortunately, profits per unit have always been minimal. Fiat Chrysler is in need of every dollar of profit possible, so the Viper is being axed. Even worse, there are no plans to replace it with another car of note. So with that, we say goodbye to one of the most iconic American sports cars to date. Of all the cars to be discontinued after 2018, this one definitely breaks our hearts the most.
The life of the Buick Verano has been short. The first Veranos hit dealerships for the 2012 model year. True to the basic nature of Buick, the Verano is a very comfortable entry-level luxury sedan. The Verano, unfortunately, is but one victim of the ever-changing tastes of car buyers. Small car sales are down across the North American market. Instead of offering another sedan, Buick plans to fill the niche with the Encore compact crossover SUV, a model that is already popular among buyers.
The Chevrolet SS is another car with a short life span. Introduced in 2014, the full-size SS crossed the ocean from Australia. GM subsidiary Holden designed the SS as a sporty rear-wheel-drive alternative to the Impala. The SS offers 415 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque. The SS is a fun drive but was not marketed well. Very few people even know of its existence, let alone want to pay the $50,000 sticker price. Barely 2,600 units have been sold so far this year. Think that’s bad? Those numbers are a 26% increase over last year’s sales for the same period. If there’s any car of all the cars to be discontinued after 2018, this one simply doesn’t deserve it.
All that can be said about the demise of the Chrysler 200 is “its about time.” This lackluster replacement for the equally lackluster Chrysler Sebring has needed the ax since its inception in 2011. Sales were decent, but many owners and potential buyers felt the cheap feeling interior and boring styling were disappointing. The sedan segment was just too crowded for poor styling and cheap interiors. Fiat Chrysler had the common sense to put this donkey to bed and add production capability to meet demands for its truck and SUV lines.
Hyundai brought the Azera to market for the 2006 model year. The Azera performed rather well until Hyundai spun off the Genesis and Equus into the Genesis luxury division. The Azera was left behind and has languished ever since. The near-luxury mid-size is being replaced by a totally refreshed Sonata. Hyundai would probably be better served by introducing a full-size SUV rather than totally refreshing the Sonata but hey, that’s just our opinion.
Mercedes-Benz dabbled in the small economy car niche with the Smart ForTwo. These strange looking cars hit the roads in 2008 and immediately began disappointing buyers. Tiny, unstable-looking, and short on fuel economy, the Smart ForTwo proved to be short on smart and barely able to fit two. Mercedes-Benz has decided to drop the gasoline versions after the 2017 model year, but will keep the Electric Drive version. Maybe as an all electric, this urban crawler will finally find its niche.
The dwindling minivan market is going to be shy one more entrant after 2017. Nissan has kept the Quest around despite its strongest market being fleet vehicles. Even with a distinctive design and top tier amenities, sales of the Quest have dropped precipitously. Heck, the entire minivan segment has suffered as most of the world’s markets are demanding more crossovers and SUVs. With the growing shift in demand, Nissan will most likely concentrate its resources toward its more-profitable SUV lineup.
Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive
Mercedes-Benz has had a rough few years within its subcompact division. First was the Smart ForTwo, now its the B-class Electric Drive. This subcompact EV has had abysmal sales figures since it was introduced as part of the 2014 lineup. With a range of just 87 miles, the B-class EV couldn’t compete with the 200 mile range of the Chevrolet Bolt and Tesla Model 3.
When the Infiniti QX70 hit the market in 2003 as the Infiniti FX, sales went wild. The QX70 was a radically curvaceous temptress when everything around her was boxy and staid. Unfortunately, sales have been sagging since the 2005 model year. To be fair, there was a bit of an economic downturn between 2008 and 2012 to contend with, but sales have never hit an uptick. Infiniti is replacing the QX70 with a totally restyled QX50. With the crossover and SUV fever that has been sweeping the globe for several years, we may be seeing a retooled version of the QX70 in the not-too-distant future.
The Jeep Patriot and the Jeep Compass debuted side-by-side as part of the 2007 model year lineup. The Patriot has stuck around for a decade now with very few changes or upgrades. Tired and dated are about the only things that can be said about it. When it debuted, the Patriot was the only compact crossover that sported bona fide off-road skills when equipped with the “Trail Rated” 4×4 system. Jeep has made a terrible waste of a potential sales monster by allowing it to lament in near stagnation. Oh, about the Jeep Compass…it gets a major redesign and a fresh marketing campaign to ensure its continued success.
Another compact car to take a hike after 2018 is the Mitsubishi Lancer. The Lancer is a poor car all the way around. Cheap amenities, mediocre styling, and average fuel economy for its class top the list of reasons why the Lancer is out. The only highlight in the Lancer group is the Lancer Evolution (pictured above) with its 291 hp engine, hot hatch styling, and sporty handling. Like many manufacturers, Mitsubishi has decided to concentrate on the lucrative SUV segment with a new Eclipse Cross crossover set to hit the market for the 2018 model year.
And so ends our list of inglorious cars to be discontinued after 2018. We bid a fond adieu to a couple and wonder why a few others aren’t listed. Oh well, something to look forward to next year!
Categories: List Articles