By on September 13, 2016

2016_golf_gti_4215

It’s a sad day for Volkswagen Golf GTI purists and fanboys. The GTI — one of autodom’s quintessential hot hatches — will lose its two-door variant in the U.S. as the scandal-rocked automaker jettisons low-volume offerings.

A very familiar face and name broke the story at Jalopnik after a Volkswagen product manager mentioned the cancellation during the company’s Golf Alltrack media test drive. (Read More…)

By on August 3, 2016

2016 Chrysler 200C

After an attractive design, all-wheel-drive availability, a powerful V6 (and incentives) powered the Chrysler 200 to 16 consecutive months of improved U.S. sales through October 2015, demand for the midsize 200 suddenly dried up.

During that 16-month stretch between July 2014 and October 2015, sales of the 200 jumped 72 percent, an increase of more than 6,000 sales per month for the Sebring’s replacement. But between November of last year and January 2016, U.S. sales of the 200 were essentially chopped in half.

As a result, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles skipped quickly from a temporary shutdown at the 200’s Sterling Heights assembly plant, to a prolonged shutdown, to an announcement that the 200 and its Dodge Dart cousin would be gradually wound down. It wasn’t so gradual: Dart production is about to end and 200 production will be over before year’s end.

Coinciding with these sedan cancellations, FCA also mired itself in a sales fixing scandal. FCA now claims in 2011, 2014, and 2015, the company was under-reporting real total sales volume, FCA also clarified that sales through the first-half of 2016 were 7,450 units lower than the company first announced.

Though lacking specific monthly data for the early part of this year, we now know which brands and models were the key offenders with July figures in hand. No drum roll required. (Read More…)

By on August 2, 2016

2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe. Photo courtesy Hyundai

Hyundai’s rear-drive sports coupe is dead.

First reported by the Globe and Mail, the Genesis Coupe’s 2016 model year will be its last in the U.S. and Canada, a company spokesperson confirmed today. A replacement is expected to follow sometime after 2017, but it won’t carry the Hyundai badge. (Read More…)

By on July 22, 2016

2013 Dodge Dart GT

“If you’re a serious carmaker and you can’t make it in this segment, you’re doomed.”
— Sergio Marchionne, September 2012

“There’s nothing wrong with the car.”
— Sergio Marchionne, January 2013

“We have decided to de-focus, from the manufacturing standpoint, to de-focus on the passenger car market.”
— Sergio Marchionne, January 2016

The launch was flubbed by an emphasis on manual transmissions. The brand lacked the reputation of a competitive builder of small cars after 15 years of Neons and Calibers. Trim and engine variants were, sometimes, poorly aligned. The market for passenger cars began to shrink even as the overall auto industry expanded. Demand for the Dart, limited even at its peak, dried up as most Dart competitors posted modest declines.

The reasons for the Dodge Dart’s demise are many. At the end of its run, however, the Dodge Dart’s production end in September 2016 represents a premature euthanization. After Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ boss said less than seven months ago that the Dart, along with the larger Chrysler 200, would be withdrawn from the marketplace “over a prolonged period of time,”

FCA has now clarified that “prolonged” equals only three-quarters of a year.

What’s the hurry? Jeep. (Read More…)

By on June 20, 2016

2016 BMW 328i xDrive Sports Wagon

Why? Surely you jest.

Why is an automobile manufacturer’s U.S. arm killing off its lone remaining wagon? You don’t need to ask, for the answer lies therein: it’s a wagon. So they’re done with it. Insert the proverbial duh.

A report on BimmerFile.com, sourced both anonymously and from prolific BMW forum user Scott26, says the current BMW 3 Series Sport Wagon will be the last iteration of the car imported by BMW USA. (Read More…)

By on June 15, 2016

2016 Honda CR-Z

2016 will be the final model year for the extraordinarily slow-selling Honda CR-Z in Canada. Honda Canada spokesperson Maki Inoue confirmed that the CR-Z is done, indirectly supplanted in Honda Canada’s lineup by the reborn Honda Accord Hybrid.

“As Honda aligns its product portfolio to best take advantage of growth opportunities in the marketplace, it will add a new Accord Hybrid, and discontinue CR-Z this year,” Inoue told GoodCarBadCar earlier this afternoon.

Of course, we knew the CR-Z was done for. Separate articles on TTAC earlier today made mention of an American Honda spokesperson’s impression that the CR-Z was already dead and the glut of CR-Z inventory of which Honda dealers must now rid themselves. (Read More…)

By on June 15, 2016

2011 Honda CR-Z EX red

We’re as certain as can be that the Honda CR-Z is dead. Defunct. Discontinued. Done for. Any other applicable d word you can think of.

Not only was the CR-Z long since discontinued in Europe and Australia, Honda is now offering a Final Label edition of the CR-Z in Japan, the company’s home market and the location of CR-Z assembly. Moreover, American Honda’s PR department already indicated to TTAC that they thought everybody knew the CR-Z was deceased, down the drain, discarded.

Dead, yes. But not yet departed. Honda’s U.S. dealers have plenty of CR-Z inventory. Don’t all storm the gates at once now. Tamp down that excitement. Let’s all remain calm. (Read More…)

By on June 10, 2016

2016 Buick Verano red“An old man turned ninety-eight,
He won the lottery and died the next day” – Alanis Morissette

General Motors’ Buick Verano didn’t make it to 98, but after turning the grand-old age of 5, the entry-level Buick sedan will join a congregation of defunct Buicks in Detroit’s vehicular graveyard. It would seem easy enough for the second-generation Verano to make its way over from China, where Buick is GM’s darling brand. In the interests of products that GM believes will produce higher U.S. volumes with superior margins, namely E-badged crossovers, the Verano’s North American days are over.

It’s not too difficult to understand why. In the United States, Buick reported 45,527 Verano sales in the model’s second full year, 2013. Just two years later, Verano volume in 2015 was down 30 percent from that peak. Buick is on track in 2016 to sell fewer than 27,000 Veranos in America. Sales of Buick’s more popular entry-level model, the Encore subcompact crossover, are up 21 percent this year. Already in 2016, through only five months, Buick has sold 30,330 Encores in the United States.

Yet north of the border, the Verano’s demise is indeed ironic. Just days before Automotive News revealed that GM would end the Verano’s North American run with an abbreviated 2017 model year, GM Canada revealed that Verano sales had risen to an all-time high in April. (Read More…)

By on June 3, 2016

Chrysler 200 Limited grey

The 200 is certainly approaching death’s door more rapidly than first anticipated.

First, there was a temporary plant shutdown as a reaction to an inventory glut. Then, in response to the market’s clarification that, yes, the 200 has truly fallen out of favour, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles instituted layoffs at the Sterling Heights factory where the 200 is built. News that the current Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart would not be followed up by FCA-developed successors was made all the more real when FCA boss Sergio Marchionne said 200 production may be suspended by the end of this year.

From a corporate standpoint, there’s no doubt that FCA’s compact and midsize U.S. market passenger cars are not long for this world. Marchionne even kicked the 200 while it was down by publicly declaring its faults, design errors which play a part in Consumer Reports’ anti-recommendation.

But dealers still have tens of thousands of Chrysler 200s to sell. (Read More…)

By on May 20, 2016

2016 Cadillac ELR, Image: Cadillac

In the first paragraph of Car And Driver’s first full test of the 2014 Cadillac ELR, K.C. Colwell wrote, “The ELR’s entry price is nearly double that of the Volt.”

By paragraph two of the New York Times first ELR review, the Grey Lady called it, “bracingly expensive.”

AutoGuide called the ELR, “Surprisingly good, disappointingly expensive.”

Money undeniably played a big role in bringing the Cadillac ELR’s short life to an end. We knew months ago that the ELR wouldn’t make it through to a second-generation. Now we know that production of the Cadillac ELR, only 29 months after launching in December 2013, has come to an end. (Read More…)

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