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Six Cars That Are On Their Way Out
Not every car can be a hit. Sometimes, even an automaker's best effort can fail to generate interest, critical acclaim or, most importantly, sales.
These are a few examples of cars that didn't quite cut it. Either because their sales were sluggish, their engines underpowered or they were made redundant by newer, sexier models, these cars are either officially discontinued now or will be soon.
Click through to see some well-known vehicles you won't find on dealer lots in the near future.
Sticker Price: $25,500 - $32,850
Invoice Price: $23,970 - $30,879
Fuel Economy: 21 mpg City, 29 mpg Highway
The C30, a "premium hatchback," went on sale in 2008 in the U.S. It had terrible timing, arriving just as the economy sunk at the hands of Wall Street gamblers.
But it was a tough sell to begin with, as premium hatchbacks costing $30K or more are much more at home in Paris, France and Geneva, Switzerland than Paris, Texas and Geneva, New York.
The C30 wasn't fuel efficient and lacked the cargo space and performance numbers of other cars in the category. The nav system was out of date too. Tough to find a reason to buy this car unless it's for love of country and your name is Sven.
The high water mark for sales for the C30 was 2008 with 4,299, and it was downhill from there.
Goodbye in Swedish is Hej då' Hej då C30.
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Sticker Price: $34,695 - $37,895
Invoice Price: $33,230 - $36,296
Fuel Economy: 17 mpg City, 23 mpg Highway
Mitsubishi. Just say the name a few times out loud, and the image of....hmmm...well...we aren't really sure what image comes to mind because we have been saying for some time that Mitsu is the brand that keeps hanging around like a virus.
The Outlander, the Endeavor, the Spyder, the Galant, Diamante--all these cars can only appeal to those whose credit rating is lower than their weight. But the Lancer Evolution has managed to hover above it all for a few years, even while the rest of the brand spiraled into oblivion.
Don't get me wrong. The Lancer Evo has a fan base--a base that can be best described as people with too much money (the price is $35K) who also own the Jackass movie DVDs. It's a Lancer with a 291-hp and 300 ft. lbs. of torque. The last time I drove it, the cops didn't know whether to laugh or chase me.
Here is what Mitsubishi has said about the current Evo: A high-ranking Mitsubishi official told a British journalist that the Evo is dead as we know it after the present generation. Mitsubishi officially and on the record offered clarification, sort of, saying that there will be a successor to the current Evo, which is scheduled to run through the 2013 model year, but that such a vehicle will depend on "regulations and market feedback" to determine its "engineering package and architecture."
Company officials explained it is "considering not advancing the Lancer Evolution concept in the same way as before," instead finding "a different direction for the Lancer Evolution model to evolve."
With clarity like that, it's such a surprise that Mitsu is perennially hovering near the exit door a-la Suzuki.
Research the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
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Sticker Price: $27,030 - $28,620
Invoice Price: $25,138 - $26,616
Fuel Economy: 16 mpg City, 20 mpg Highway
The Toyota FJ Cruiser was the proverbial answer to a question very few people were asking. It was meant to be an homage to the original Toyota Land Cruiser. But with terrible egress into the seats, and worse fuel economy amidst a flood of better looking crossovers and SUVs, the FJ had a very small and elite club of owners. Too small to keep it going.
Off-road enthusiasts gave the FJ props for its handling in dry creek beds and the like. But there aren't enough of them. After a half-decent showing of 56,000 annual sales in in 2006, sales trickled to fewer than 14,000 last year.
After the 2014 model year, it's Sayonara for the FJ.
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Sticker Price: $50,920
Invoice Price: $47,084
Fuel Economy: 16 mpg City, 23 mpg Highway
The ZDX lived a short life. It debuted in the 2010 model year and was killed before the 2014 model year. That, my friends, is the definition of a failed design.
The angular, cramped crossover that Acura advertised as a "4-door luxury sports coupe" and, which the company blathered, "blurs the distinction between coupe, sedan and sport utility vehicle," was barley a blip on our radar screens.
The ZDX is one of those vehicles that you have to believe Acura executives kept thinking would never be built. "Surely, the boss will kill that, but I'm not going to be the one who writes that in a memo, because I think his wife consulted on it."
It was built on the same platform as the Honda Pilot, Honda Odyssey and Acura MDX. But it looked entirely too much like a wagon, which premium buyers dislike in the U.S., and had cramped seating and paltry cargo space. Write that in a press release and see if anyone salutes it.
Research the Acura ZDX
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Acura ZDX Local Dealer Price Quote
Sticker Price: $15,845 - $19,349
Invoice Price: $15,212 - $18,575
Fuel Economy: 23 mpg City, 33 mpg Highway
While we do not much lament the demise of the Suzuki car business in the U.S., we do wish that the Japanese automaker that elected to pull up stakes this year would sell the SX4 to some other company to sell.
I still fondly recall awaking in Ann Arbor, MI to a fresh snowfall of about fifteen inches. I had a TV appearance to make. The streets had not been plowed yet until you got a mile or so away from my house in the country. My test car that week was an SX4. I fired it up and hoped of the best. The perky little all-wheel-drive hatchback roared through the white stuff like it was being led by Rudolph.
We bid good bye to the whole Suzuki lineup, which ended with the 2013 model year. But the only one I'm really sad to see go was the plucky little SX4, which drove like a Subaru.
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Sticker Price: $27,020 - $44,280
Invoice Price: $25,912 - $42,465
Fuel Economy: 17 mpg City, 25 mpg Highway
The VW Routan minivan was not in VW showrooms in 2013, but was sold to fleets only this past year as its supply dwindled by design.
It's not that that it was a bad minivan. In fact, it was almost as good as a Chrysler Town & Country.
The trouble with the Routan was that it was a Chrysler minivan that was built and sold to VW with some different badging. But there was a major flaw. The Routan did not get the signature stow-'n-go seating that has become very popular on the Chrysler van. That's the feature that allows the second row of seats to fold away into the floor as well as the third.
VW dealers very much wanted a minivan, so former VW chief Wolfgang Bernhard, who had been COO of Chrysler, struck a deal to get one from his former company. Other VW executives hated the idea, and never properly supported the Routan with advertising or marketing efforts. Bernhard was in that job about a half-hour before being banished and eventually ending up back at Mercedes-Benz.
Is there a van in VW's future? Stay tuned for perhaps a Golf-Plus micro van that could appeal to some of those one and two child VW households who want something van-ish. Meantime, Auf Wiedersehen to Routan.
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