Each year, automakers use the changing of the calendar to clean out their closets a bit by trimming the dead weight from their lineups and focusing their attention on better-selling vehicles. With 2013 nearing its end in just a handful of weeks, these companies have decided which cars will stay and, more importantly, which will go.
Here are eight vehicles that won’t be living on into the new year. Most sold mediocrely at best (save for the Toyota Matrix, which sold pretty well), and it’s safe to say that none of the following were true staples in anyone’s lineup — in short, we’ve suffered worse discontinuations in the past.
1. Acura ZDX
Acura’s (NYSE:HMC) oddly proportioned, pricey fast-back SUV was the answer to a question that no one was really asking, and Acura seems to be taking the hint. While BMW has enjoyed moderate success with its X6, the style didn’t translate well for Acura, which built the ZDX as a high-end Honda Crosstour, but with less cargo space.
2. Cadillac Escalade EXT
With pickup truck trim levels at the point they are at today, there’s little room in the market for a Cadillac (NYSE:GM) truck. Many other vehicles can offer plenty of luxurious interior appointments, The Detroit News notes, while still maintaining the rugged truck demeanor that the Escalade never had.
3. GM’s hybrid trucks
Another GM truck getting the axe is the line of hybrid models, both in pickup and SUV form. Although “their mileage was somewhat better than the rest of the line’s … their high cost easily obliterated any fuel savings,” The Detroit News said.
4. Nissan Altima coupe
Though its four-door sibling is selling quite well, the coupe’s demise passes the torch to the Honda Accord coupe, now the only full-size coupe left in the segment, The Detroit News notes, adding that ”the Altima two-door still has the sporty demeanor and moderate cost to attract buyers.”
5. Toyota Matrix
Capable beyond its size, the Toyota (NYSE:TM) Matrix never moved in numbers like its sedan version — the Corolla — did. The Detroit News observes that with an influx of new competition (the Hyundai Elantra GT, Ford Focus), it’s strange that Toyota is pulling the plug now.
6. Volkswagen Routan
The Volkswagen Routan always had trouble fitting into the VW lineup, probably because it was little more than a badge-engineered Chrysler Town & Country. VW buyers weren’t convinced, either, and the Routan never became a popular seller for the brand.
7. Volvo C30
Volvo reached back in its history, to the P1800, for inspiration for the C30, which was considered Volvo’s entry-level vehicle. However, there were two factors that led to its demise: First, “the C30 was available with three doors, but not five. Second: Its price was hardly entry-level. In the end, Volvo is losing a car filled with character in a lineup that is not known for it,” The Detroit News said.
8. Volvo C70
Finally, after 15 years on the market, Volvo’s C70 convertible will be bidding its final farewells. The C70 was always sort of an odd duck in Volvo’s lineup of smart, safe, and sensible cars, and the formula never proved to be an especially exciting one. The C70 — as nice a car as it was — was never a big-volume seller for the Swedish company. Then again, convertibles rarely are.
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