Here’s something automakers don’t want you to know: They’re starting to panic. After years of record-breaking new car sales, rock-bottom gas prices, and favorable trade relations around the world, the party is crashing to a halt. Car sales are noticeably down for 2017, those millions of cars that were leased over the past three years are flooding dealerships, and the future of global trade is so murky that no one wants to bet big on anything — well, except maybe Tesla.
So the industry is starting to look for places to cut costs and circle the wagons around what’s selling. What’s selling are big vehicles, namely pickup trucks, SUVs, and crossovers. With cheap gas and favorable dealer incentives, Americans are throwing caution to the wind and upgrading to something bigger. So what happens when gas prices inevitably rise again? Well, looking at the current state of things, there will be fewer compact cars, hybrids, and sedans left on the market. But that’s a problem for tomorrow.
Despite record-setting sales numbers, Ford’s low stock prices have sent the company into corporate turmoil. And General Motors is now worth less than Tesla, despite building exponentially more cars around the world. Plus, even though every industry talking head thinks the days of gas-powered vehicles are numbered, Detroit is betting the farm on big, thirsty people-movers.
Will these moves pay off? It’s too early to tell. But clearly, these strange times call for desperate action. For good or ill, that might come at the expense of these 10 cars.
1. Chevrolet Volt
When it launched in 2010, the Chevy Volt was about as high-profile as a car can get as General Motors’ first dedicated hybrid. President Barack Obama toured the production line, and it was named North American Car of the Year and Green Car of the Year in 2011, while a European version, the Opel Ampera, won European Car of the Year in 2012.
But despite a handsome restyle in 2016, the Volt is floundering. At $33,000 and up, it isn’t cheap. And with gas prices staying low, Americans are gobbling up crossovers, making compact cars like the Volt a tough sell — fuel economy be damned. If the Volt disappears, there’s a chance it could come back as a compact crossover.
Next: Is Buick ready to abandon one of its best cars?
2. Buick LaCrosse
Buick’s impressive rebound may be built on the success of its crossover lineup, but it has a winner in the 2017, full-size LaCrosse sedan. But despite gorgeous styling, a quiet, luxurious interior, and even a few performance bona fides (the available Continuous Dampening Control suspension is closely related to the system found on the Corvette and Camaro), the sad truth is no one is buying mid-market, full-size sedans anymore. As a result, the LaCrosse could be a thing of the past much sooner than later.
Next: This iconic nameplate is on the endangered species list.
3. Chevrolet Impala
Despite being the new LaCrosse’s platform-mate, the Impala has been serving as Chevy’s full-sizer since 2014. And even though it’s been largely unchanged, it’s still a great car. Considering how Buick revitalized the LaCrosse, we were looking forward to seeing what Chevy would do to the next-generation Impala. Now, there’s a chance we might never see it. The Impala is reportedly fighting for its life, too.
Next: This car’s disappearance would be a huge blow for Cadillac.
4. Cadillac CT6
Like the Lacrosse, Cadillac launched the 2016 CT6 as a return to form in the full-size sedan segment. A handsome, tech-laden, rear-wheel drive luxury sedan, it was positioned to take on the likes of the Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7 Series, and Audi A8. And while it truly is a worthy adversary for the Germans, American buyers just aren’t giving it a chance. Despite an array of available options and powertrains, a huge advertising campaign, and billions spent developing the car, it’s rumored that Cadillac’s flagship might already be on the chopping block.
Next: This Chevy has already been all but forgotten.
5. Chevrolet Sonic
At the height of the economic recession, subcompacts, such as the Chevy Sonic, sold like hotcakes. Then, the economy improved, gas prices started to plummet, and Americans got back to doing what they love: buying big SUVs. As a result, subcompact sales are way, down. And despite a handsome facelift for 2016 and some seriously fun driving dynamics, Chevy’s Korean-built model, the Sonic, could be living on borrowed time.
Next: This car was a dinosaur as soon as it came out.
6. Cadillac XTS
In our opinion, this is the only model on this list that deserves to disappear. When it was introduced in 2013, the XTS felt like a concession car. Cadillac was moving back upmarket and wanted to take on Germany’s best with a lineup of modern, rear-wheel drive, driver-centric luxury cars. But it didn’t want to completely abandon the blue-plate special demographic yet either. So the XTS is a throwback to your grandma’s mid-’90s DeVille. It’s quiet and comfortable, but it’s also a big, lumbering front-wheel drive dinosaur. Despite a mild facelift for 2018, it’s barely changed over its five-year production run. In our opinion, the sooner it disappears, the better.
Next: We really hope this rumor isn’t true.
7. Ford Fiesta
In red-hot ST trim, the Ford Fiesta is one of the most rewarding driver’s cars in the world at any price. But even base model Fiestas offer tons of real-world practicality and are fun to drive, too. A refreshed 2018 Fiesta has just been unveiled for the European market, but according to sources inside Ford, there’s a pretty good chance we won’t get it in the U.S. It’s more likely Ford will focus on pushing its new-to-America (and Fiesta-based) EcoSport crossover instead. That’s a shame. American roads won’t be as exciting without a new Fiesta ST.
Next: This is one of the least popular cars in America.
8. Kia K900
It’s no secret Kia has come a long way in the past decade. But its Lexus-fighting K900 sedan is one of the least popular cars in America, despite being very good. (As of June, Kia has sold just over 250 2017 models in the U.S.) A second-generation model is in development and could hit dealerships as early as 2018. But with no traction in America, it remains to be seen whether we’ll get it stateside.
Next: This is how Tesla makes room for the Model 3.
9. Tesla Model S 60
This one’s official: As of now, the entry-level Tesla Model S is no more. The base-model S 60 started at $68,000, making it the cheapest way into Tesla ownership. But with the Model 3 on the way, Elon Musk and company want to widen the gap between their $35,000-and-up new car and its venerable flagship.
Next: This older crossover is going out with strong sales.
10. Infiniti QX70
Infiniti is in the process of sharpening its lineup, but this one still caught us by surprise. For 2018, the long-serving QX70 (formerly the FX-Series) will disappear. Despite being older than most of its (admittedly very good) crossover lineup, this is strange because QX70 sales are actually up for 2017. We wouldn’t be shocked if the nameplate made a return in 2019 or 2020 as a fun-to-drive, midsize crossover.