Every year, the automotive tide washes new models into showrooms — and drags old ones away.
Among the departing models this time are a few that never caught on with customers, along with some well-known names.
With auto sales expected to fall for the first time since 2009, car companies have a greater incentive to cut the number of models they offer. Yet at the same time, most major makers still want to try to offer a model in every major automotive category.
“Even though the market is shrinking a bit, manufacturers still need a full-line offering to be competitive,” says Jessica Caldwell, an analyst for Edmunds.com, a car-buying website.
Among those models going away, some are likely to be gone forever while others will take a break — only to be resurrected again. Ford, for instance, is planning to offer a new version of its Ranger pickup and Bronco off-road vehicles, models that it sent out to pasture a few years ago.
Among the models about to vanish, each has its own story. The list includes a mix of cars and SUVs.
Cars have been slow sellers compared with SUVs. But some SUVs are going away, too, mostly because updated, more competitive models in the same segments are taking their place, Caldwell says.
“People are getting more finicky,” she says.
Among those nameplates saying adios for the 2018 model year:
•Buick Verano.General Motors announced that it was cutting the compact Verano as part of a reduction in the number of cars overall. It still has the larger LaCrosse and the Regal for 2018.
•Chevrolet SS. The big, powerful SS was a favorite among performance fans. The full-size car shared a chassis with the Caprice, the police version. But the SS is going away because GM closed the factory where it was made, its Holden subsidiary in Australia. For the SS, it’s “catch you later, mate.”
•Chrysler 200. Fiat Chrysler never made a hit out of the 200 even though it was heavily advertised — that Super Bowl ad featuring rapper Eminem a few years ago, remember? — and competed in the popular midsize car segment. But the 200, and the Sebring before it, never won the affections of individual buyers.
•Dodge Viper. The Viper was one of the hottest American cars on the road, the performance leader of the Dodge brand. After a run of many years, the model — and the factory that makes it — are going away.
•Hyundai Azera. This car was considered a step up from Hyundai’s Sonata midsize sedan, but it fell into the shadow of the Genesis luxury division. Lost in in the lineup, it never sold well. Azera was “on the periphery of purchase consideration” for many shoppers, Hyundai acknowledged in announcing it would be dropped from the U.S. lineup.
•Infiniti QX70. When the QX70 made its debut as the Infiniti FX, it caused a stir in the automotive world for its leading-edge looks. But newer SUVs are on the way. “We have an all-new QX50 midsize crossover … that goes on sale in early 2018, and we also have a significantly updated QX80 full-size luxury SUV” which is arriving into Infiniti dealers, spokesman Kyle Bazemore says. Infiniti also has the three-row QX60.
•Jeep Patriot. Fiat Chrysler had a problem. It had two compact SUVs, the Compass and the Patriot, that seemed so similar that wags dubbed them the “Compatriot.” So Compass was chosen as the name for the single, new model. Patriot goes away.
•Lexus CT 200h. The little hybrid hatchback was right for its time when even luxury buyers paid a lot of attention to gas mileage numbers. But they aren’t as concerned now.
•Mercedes-Benz B-Class. This car came to the U.S. as a compact hydrogen-powered vehicle, the B-Class F-CELL. It had limited production and was only available in California. Then an electric version followed, available in all states, but usually only by special order from dealers, spokesman Brian Cotter says.
•Mitsubishi i-MiEV. This small electric car had looks that matched its name when it came to being a little strange. Though it was one of the least expensive electric vehicles on the market, it had limited range and never measured up to the more modern electric cars.
•Mitsubishi Lancer. Another car bites the dust in a company that is putting a bigger focus on SUVs.
•Nissan Quest. Nissan hasn’t released its 2018 lineup yet, but officials will likely dump the Quest. The minivan had two strikes against it: No. 1, Quest never caught on against such entrenched competitors such as Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna and Chrysler Pacifica. No. 2, minivans are out of fashion in an SUV market.
•Smart ForTwo. The tiniest car on the market, the 8-foot, 8-inch wonder is going to be gone. But the electric version will live on.
•Volkswagen CC. The car was one of the best examples of clean European styling, but the four-door coupe just got old. VW showed a possible replacement in Europe earlier this year, Arteon.
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