Cars that are destined for the chopping block
This year was a tough one for cars. In response to the North American market’s growing appetite for crossovers and SUVs, many automakers have chosen to pivot away from sedans, coupes, and hatchbacks. Ford announced earlier this year that it would cut all cars from its lineup except the Mustang, and GM recently made the call to discontinue six car models from its lineup. But not all the cuts come from that mass car exodus. Here’s a look at the models we lost in 2018.
The subcompact segment continues to shrink, and with the loss of the Ford Fiesta, there are fewer affordable cars on the market. This also means we say goodbye to the fun little Fiesta ST, reducing the number of choices consumers have for an affordable sporty car.
The Chevrolet Volt proved you can have a futuristic car with minimal sacrifices and conventional looks, and we liked the first-generation plug-in hybrid enough to name it our 2011 MotorTrend Car of the Year. Alas, the second-generation Volt is one of the victims of General Motors’ shift toward crossovers and EVs. The all-electric Bolt hatchback will live on, but the range-extended Volt’s time has been cut short.
Ford was originally planning to bring the next-generation Focus to North America in Focus Active guise, which is essentially a lifted hatchback. Unfortunately, that’s no longer the case thanks to looming tariffs and low sales projections. We also won’t be getting the new Focus ST or RS that the rest of the world will enjoy.
BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon
We recently drove the 2019 BMW 3 Series and came back impressed by its improved driving dynamics and revised interior. Unfortunately for North American consumers averse to the idea of owning a crossover, BMW won’t have any 3 Series alternatives for you because it’s not planning to bring back the wagon in the U.S. or Canada. There’s also no word on whether the 3 Series Gran Turismo hatchback will return.
When the current-generation Ford Fusion first debuted, it wowed the world with its Aston Martin–esque front end and overall swoopy exterior design. Fast-forward to 2018, and the Fusion is now on borrowed time with production slated to end soon. In addition to gas-only powertrains, the Ford Fusion was also offered as a hybrid and plug-in hybrid.
The Chevrolet Impala will go to car heaven after March due to General Motors choosing to pull funding from the plant that produces it. This storied nameplate received a major overhaul back in the 2014 model year and quickly became one of the better vehicles in its segment. Unfortunately, the decline in sedan sales, lack of meaningful updates, and rapid growth of the crossover segment have all contributed to the model’s discontinuation.
Another full-size sedan headed to the automotive afterlife is the Buick LaCrosse. Straddling the lines between mainstream and luxury, the LaCrosse was a tweener that had a muddled identity. It was too expensive to be a mass-market model, yet its build quality, as we noted in a recent First Test, lags behind premium models.
If you wanted a full-size luxury sedan priced under $52,000, the Cadillac XTS was one of the few that fit the bill. Unfortunately, only a small number of them found homes even after Cadillac added a 410-hp V-Sport model. Like its cousins, the Chevrolet Impala and Buick LaCrosse, the Cadillac XTS will be discontinued in General Motors’ quest to trim costs.
The previous-generation Subaru Forester was the last to see a turbocharged model because the redesigned 2019 Forester ditched the XT variant. With XT models making up less than 10 percent of the mix, Subaru didn’t see the point of offering a more powerful turbocharged version of its popular crossover.
The Ford Taurus belongs to a segment that’s essentially on its death bed. With full-size sedans selling in such small numbers, the discontinuation of the Taurus has been a long time coming, especially considering it hasn’t received many updates since its 2013 refresh.
At one point the Cadillac ATS was the standard-bearer among compact luxury sport sedans, offering sublime performance and handling and a sharp exterior design. Sales, however, failed to come close to those of its key rivals from Europe. Cadillac confirmed earlier this year that the ATS sedan will end production to make way for the next generation of Caddy sedans. Both the ATS and CTS are expected to eventually be replaced by a new CT5 sedan.
Model-year 2019 will mark the end of an era as Volkswagen will officially end production of the iconic Beetle. In celebration of the Beetle’s last year in production, the German automaker released the Final Edition for those looking to get a piece of automotive nostalgia. The current Beetle will be no more after 2019, but VW hasn’t ruled out a successor—possibly an all-electric model based on its MEB platform.
The Cadillac CT6 was the brand’s first rear-drive full-size luxury sedan since the Fleetwood was discontinued in 1996. Like the ATS, the CT6 was supposed to challenge European rivals, and although the big sedan did prove successful to some degree, its sales never really took off. Despite the introduction of a 550-hp CT6-V (originally a V-Sport model) for 2019, production will end in June of next year.
Chevrolet City Express
In a bid to take a chunk of the compact commercial vehicle segment, Chevrolet rebadged and restyled the Nissan NV200 commercial van and called it the City Express. But since its introduction, sales have lagged behind the Ford Transit Connect, Ram ProMaster City, and even its Nissan-badged twin. General Motors made the call to discontinue the City Express this past summer.
Back when it first arrived, the Mercedes-AMG GT S won MotorTrend’s Best Driver’s Car title, beating out many formidable sports cars. With the refresh of the AMG GT lineup, however, the GT S will be discontinued. In its place, Mercedes will offer the AMG GT C in coupe and convertible body styles, shrinking the lineup down by one model.