While automakers may not be partying like it’s 2015, sales were strong enough through 2016 that manufacturers could boast the good times were still rolling by most measures. Any company building compact SUVs or pickup trucks would have a hard time complaining about the returns.
However, if a good part of an automaker’s business relies on selling cars — i.e., the vehicles that aren’t on stilts and don’t bully their way through traffic — then 2016 could be seen as a pretty bad year. Still, automakers can’t always blame the segment for their troubles. Sometimes, they have to point to the product itself. Some vehicles just aren’t appealing to American consumers anymore, if they ever were.
Here are 12 cars that people basically stopped buying.
1. Chrysler 200
If you want to know how a car is doing, see how the automaker responds when plans for the next model refresh are due. Winning models get spruced up with new exterior styling, better tech, and maybe even a new engine. Losing models get vague plans, nothing new for the next model year, and eventually, receive a death sentence.
That’s exactly what happened to the Chrysler 200, a car that turned up among the worst reviewed ’16 models. After struggling on the sales charts in previous years, the 200 got thumped in 2016. Through November, it ranked 82nd on the sales charts and declined 65% on the year. Chrysler has promised it would continue producing the 200 to meet demand in 2017, but that shouldn’t take much.
2. Toyota Prius C
Hybrids have taken a hit as a segment since oil got dirt-cheap, and even the amazingly efficient Toyota Prius has not been able to weather the storm. Every model in the lineup showed declines, and Prius C took a beating as the smallest one of the bunch. In November, this fuel sipper sold just 1,372 units, which was a 47% drop over the prior year’s stats. Through the first 11 months of the year, Prius C was nearly 50% off its pace from the previous year.
3. BMW 6 Series
The BMW 3 Series, 4 Series, and X5 crossover have all had down years in 2016, but the BMW 6 Series is verging on obscurity at 231st place on the U.S. sales charts. Its performance through the first 11 months of 2016 bordered on dreadful, with declines over 46% haunting the line. American luxury buyers are looking at the 6 Series Coupe ($77,600), Gran Coupe ($79,800), and convertible ($85,100) with indifferent eyes these days.
4. Fiat 500L
One only needs to look at the Fiat 500L to see its tough-sell quality, and reviews have not been kind to the bloated Italian car, either. On the sales charts, the 500L was outsold by the Smart Fortwo for the first 11 months of the year. Through November, Fiat only managed to move 3,016 units, which amounted to a 59% drop from 2015. For obvious and maybe a few unclear reasons, it’s one of the cars people aren’t buying anymore.
5. Kia K900
Reviewers have been mostly kind to the Kia K900, but that hasn’t helped the car gain any traction on the U.S. market. In fact, the situation is getting worse all the time for the K900, which averages fewer than 75 sales a month, marking a 68% plunge compared to the previous year. For the first 11 months of the year, it was actually getting outsold by the much-maligned Cadillac ELR. That one stings.
6. Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive
If you think of Mercedes-Benz cars, you’ll run through the usual range of C-Class, E-Class, and S-Class models. Where does the B-Class fit in? As far as U.S. auto consumers are concerned, nowhere. After several months above 200 sales in 2015, the Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive lost whatever mojo it had early in 2016 when it cratered at 37 sales in February.
Record sales have taken place in the EV segment for seven out of eight months this year, but the B250e still sank while the tide rose around it. In all likelihood, Mercedes will let its B-Class electric car die peacefully in order to bring out an upgraded model down the road. Something with longer range and more curb appeal — more Tesla, if you will — would be the way to go.
7. Nissan Juke
Checking in at 149th place on the U.S. sales charts is the Nissan Juke, the oddly shaped crossover that reviewers have largely enjoyed driving since its debut. Unfortunately for the automaker, consumers are not showing it much love in 2016. Sales registered a puny 1,143 units in August, which was a 51.6% drop, year over year. Sales dipped over 27% for the full year, and the numbers don’t show signs of improving.
8. Dodge Dart
If Americans can agree on one thing, it’s that they no longer want the Dodge Dart. The compact car, which was killed off along with the Chrysler 200 to make way for more SUVs, limped to its own finish line in 2016. Through the first 11 months of the year, it lost 49% compared to its meager totals from 2015. Reviewers widely panned this car for its drive character in every trim, and people apparently took the notices to heart.
9. Lexus CT
As a brand, Lexus had little trouble outselling BMW in America through the first 11 months of 2016. However, the CT hybrid model was not doing any of the heavy lifting. With 7,935 sales by December, the CT 200h was Lexus’s worst performer in 2016. It declined 40% compared to 2015 and was averaging fewer than 600 sales per month by the end of the year. We can’t see this car lasting much longer on the market.
10. Lincoln MKS
We knew Lincoln MKS would make its way to obscurity with the arrival of the new Continental, but we thought there might be a little spike in sales as dealers moved the last units. That hasn’t been the case. Instead, MKS spent 2016 in 222nd place on the sales charts and showed 83% declines off its 2015 pace in November. On the other hand, Continental sold like hotcakes in its first months of availability. With another great month, Continental might actually top 2016 MKS sales in four months on the market.
11. Smart Electric Drive
If you heard something crashing in November, it wasn’t the Smart Electric Drive — it crumbles rather than crashes. However, the noise might have been this car’s sales falling off a cliff. Smart ED found just 37 new customers that month, which was 74% off its previous year’s total. For the first 11 months of the year, it sold just 781 cars, about 50% off its pace in ’15. We’re not sure what it would take to sell this car to Americans — Four doors? A trunk? Decent driving range? — but Smart ED definitely doesn’t have “it” yet.
12. Honda CR-Z
It’s “last dibs” time for Honda CR-Z as the final bit of U.S. stock dwindles to nothing. The Japanese automaker ended production of the sporty hybrid before 2017 began, but the remaining units are taking their sweet time leaving U.S. dealerships. After several years of declining sales, CR-Z was outsold — handily, mind you — by cars like the Chevy Spark EV and Volkswagen e-Golf in 2016. By November, CR-Z was getting topped by the obscure Kia Soul EV. Hopefully, this tragedy will end soon.
Sales stats courtesy of GoodCarBadCar.
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