Every so often automakers go through their lineups, ridding themselves of outdated or unsuccessful models or trim lines. Whether the cars were a poor design decision somewhere along the line or just unable adapt to the current market, the main theme is stagnant sales. Here are 11 cars that will not be produced for the North American market after 2015.
Chevy Captiva Sport
The Captiva Sport is the last-gen version of the Equinox. Chevy has continued to produce it for the rental fleet market. The strategy is to keep the resale value of the current generation as high as possible, but the Captiva has come to the end of its usefulness and will go the way of the dinosaur by year’s end.
Honda is a company that usually has a firm grasp on the fickle North American automotive market. For some reason or other, the company thought an oddly shaped, high-end hatchback would grab an audience in an increasingly value-oriented market that has a keen eye on SUVs. So much for that foray into frustration.
Land Rover LR2
Buying a Land Rover LR2 is a niche need. You usually see one sitting in the driveway of a person who is making too much money for their common sense or who just happens to need to ford a river during flood conditions. So, it is no wonder the LR2 is not able to take advantage of the boom in small SUV sales. The Discovery Sport is finding a bit of an audience in upscale suburbs; mainly because it is less a tank and more road-friendly than the LR2.
Mini Coupe and Mini Roadster
Over the past several years, Mini has been focusing on micro-marketing its vehicles to more narrow groups of buyers. What has been obvious to many people outside of the inner circle of executives at Mini is that the strategy is unsustainable. The Coupe and Roadster both sell so slowly that the unsustainablility of the strategy became undeniable, leading to the elimination of both models.
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo
Just a few years ago the Lancer Evo was touted as being able to compete head-to-head with the Subaru Impreza WRX; both in sales and on the track. Since Mitsubishi is faltering in the North American market, it has decided to axe the Evo in favor of more efficient cars and crossovers. That it is too bad, since the Evo is the only exciting vehicle Mitsu produces in North America.
Alright, this is an obvious choice for the chopping block. North America is willing to accept a boxy, offbeat vehicle like the Kia Soul, but the Cube is too far out there. The design of the Cube is just too quirky for most buyers. Maybe its designers can say it is to futuristic for today’s market. You know, just to make themselves feel better about its failure.
The Scion iQ is a foray into whether North America is ready for the Japanese ”kei” car. Unfortunately for the iQ, buyers in North America want to be able to car dance without punching their passengers in the face, so sales are very slow.
Toyota Prius Plugin Hybrid
It is hard to imagine that any part of the Prius lineup is anything other than a stellar sales performer. The main reason is that the plugin doesn’t offer enough of a fuel-efficiency quotient over its non-plugin relatives to entice large sales volume. This is most likely just a hiatus until Toyota can find another niche for it or improve its fuel-efficiency.
Is it a wagon, a crossover, or a compact SUV? No one knows. Toyota didn’t define it and buyers chose to ignore it, so production of the Venza will end mid-year. It is still a nicely appointed thingamajiggy for the smart used car buyer.
The Volkswagen Eos is a sporty looking convertible that offers a mix of performance and fuel efficiency. It also features a retractable hard top, which is always cool. If Yugo had the feature it may have lasted longer. Okay, probably not. The Eos is falling victim more to changes in corporate focus than declining sales. Perhaps VW will see the error of their ways in time to bring a new convertible to market.
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