While U.S. auto sales remained strong in 2018, there were still plenty of losers on the market. In brief, any model designed as a crossover was either gaining or downright surging.
Meanwhile, some very solid and well-liked sedans were losing their foothold on the U.S. market. Frankly, there aren’t a lot of ways to explain why the dull Chevrolet Trax (+27%) is hot while the excellent Hyundai Sonata (-29%) is cold.
Sonata, always a volume seller, will be fine. The same can’t be said for models that either posted puny numbers or showed dramatic slumps through the first half of the year.
Here are 10 cars U.S. consumers basically stopped buying in 2018, with statistics from GoodCarBadCar.
10. Alfa Romeo 4C
- Key stat: 134 sales through half the year
You can say the Alfa Romeo 4C is built for a niche market, but that niche has gotten tiny in 2018. Through June, only 134 models had sold across the U.S.
Compared to the numbers from 2017, that performance represented a 45% decline. In late June, Alfa Romeo announced it was discontinuing the coupe for 2019. Will the roadster be far behind?
9. Smart fortwo
- Key stat: Lost 67% of sales in a year
While the performance of the 4C might baffle you, no one needs reminding why people stopped buying the Smart fortwo. Once declared the most embarrassing car on the road, it’s surprising this vehicle appeals to anyone.
In 2017, Daimler announced it would be electric-only by 2020, and that’s made it even less popular in America. Over six months, only 650 units had sold. That was 67% less than it managed the previous year, when gas-powered models were still available.
8. Audi A3
- Key stat: Sales fell 22% in 2018.
By all accounts, Audi A3 is a much better car than a Mercedes-Benz CLA Class. Yet the entry-level Benz (which costs about the same) was surging (+38%) in 2018 while the A3 (-22%) went dead.
Overall, small luxury sedans have had a hard time retaining both value and customers in recent years.
7. Lincoln MKZ
- Key stat: Sales crashed 32.5%.
Ford’s luxury brand has also felt the sting of the waning market for luxury sedans. As Navigator sales soared (+82%), the MKZ’s numbers (-33%) have sputtered.
This upscale version of the Fusion probably deserves a better fate, but Lincoln’s SUVs are getting most of the attention these days.
6. Ford C-Max
- Key stat: Sales plummeted 56% in June.
Ford read the writing on the wall for C-Max in 2017, when it announced it would end production of its slow-selling hybrid in mid-2018. Since then, demand has gone from weak to downright sad.
In June, Ford watched this model move 56% fewer cars (837) than it did a year earlier. After April’s sales performance, it was the worst month C-Max ever had since it went on the market in 2018.
5. Buick Cascada
- Key stat: Sales fell 34% this year.
At a glance, it’s difficult to tell who the target consumer is for the Buick Cascada, and in 2018 that person — whomever it may be — is in short supply. Fewer than 2,300 models sold in six months, which is 34% below the pace set in 2017.
In June, Buick notched just 458 sales of the four-seat convertible.
4. Toyota 86
- Key stat: Sales dropped 39% in 2018.
The Toyota 86 (formerly Scion FR-S) continues the trend of small, sporty, well-reviewed cars few people are buying. In 2018, 86 sales slumped by nearly 40%.
For what it’s worth, the Subaru version of this car (BRZ) sold in even lower volumes in 2018.
3. Hyundai Accent
- Key stat: Sales dropped 32.5%
While it might sound weird that anyone ever bought the Hyundai Accent, this econobox once had a following. In fact, nearly 80,000 Americans bought one in 2016.
A couple years (and the loss of the hatchback model) later, sales have been sliced in half. The number is 54%, to be exact, making it among the least wanted cars in the U.S. right now.
At $14,995, it can’t be the price that has turned off consumers.
2. Jaguar XJ
- Key stat: Couldn’t break 1,000 sales in 6 months.
As Jaguar hints of what the next-generation XJ (due around 2020) might be like, the current model is languishing on the U.S. market. In six months, it couldn’t even break 1,000 sales.
That ranks it right by the Chrysler 200 (894 sales), a car that was discontinued years ago.
1. Fiat 500
- Key stat: Sales crashed 70% in 2018.
If there’s one thing Americans can agree on, it’s that they don’t want the Fiat 500 anymore. Through the first six months of 2018, sales for the two-door city car had plunged 70%.
For a car that’s not being discontinued, that’s an unusually high number. However, it’s not unthinkable when you look at the rest of the Fiat lineup.
The 500L, for example, managed to sell a mere 904 units in 2018. No wonder people are asking if Fiat will be the next brand to exit the U.S. market.
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