By on May 11, 2016

2013 Honda Ridgeline

Honda hasn’t produced a new first-generation Ridgeline since 2014. Yet in the first four months of 2016, prior to the second-generation Ridgeline’s showroom arrival, Honda dealers managed to get a couple of long-since forgotten Ridgelines into customer hands.

But the Ridgeline’s ability to show up on U.S. sales charts in early 2016 isn’t unique. There have even been seven total sales of the Porsche 918 Spyder, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, and Lexus LFA so far this year.

Extinct, discontinued, on hiatus, buried, forgotten: these 17 “new” vehicles aren’t dead — yet.

Honda Crosstour: 638
U.S. sales of the Crosstour fell 78 percent to 638 units in the first four months of 2016. Nearly 109,000 Crosstours have been sold since the Crosstour arrived in 2009.

2011 Toyota Venza

Toyota Venza: 472
The Venza, a Camry wagon for the tiny fraction of Camry buyers who wanted a jacked-up wagon, fell 95 percent to 472 units in 2016’s first four months. The Venza’s best sales year was its first, 2009, when 54,410 were sold in America. 272,864 Venzas have left Toyota’s U.S. showrooms in slightly more than seven years.

Mazda5: 259
In theory, it makes perfect sense. A minivan that’s actually mini. But Mazda wasn’t keen on updating the Mazda5. It wasn’t offered with seven seats. There was essentially no space behind the third row. U.S. sales of the 5 peaked at 22,021 units in 2008 and totalled 159,939 units all-time. Mazda5 sales are down 94 percent to 259 units so far this year.

Infiniti Q40: 52
Infiniti’s Q50 was, and is, the replacement for the G37 sedan, which eventually became the Q40. But the Q50’s arrival didn’t coincide with the Q40’s departure. Now, with an expanded Q50 lineup, the Q40 is done. Sales fell 99 percent to 52 units in early 2016.

2012 Mini Paceman

Mini Paceman: 39
This was the answer to a question only BMW was asking. Does Mini need a crossover? Then the Countryman you shall have. But does Mini need a two-door Countryman? Not really. And if Mini needed it, consumers most definitely did not. Sales are down 89 percent to 39 units in 2016’s first four months. Americans registered 7,091 Pacemans between March 2013 and April 2016.

Honda Insight: 30
The first Honda Insight helped get the hybrid ball rolling. The second Insight, a more direct competitor for the Toyota Prius, was a flop from day one. Honda only sold 20,962 second-gen Insights in its best year, 2010, and only 73,184 since 2009. Excluding the V and C, Toyota sold nearly 114,000 Prii last year alone. Insight volume is down 96 percent to 30 units in the first-third of 2016.

2014 Nissan Xterra

Nissan Xterra: 30
Honest and authentic, the Nissan Xterra was no match in recent years for the Jeep Wrangler juggernaut. Nissan USA averaged 67,000 annual Xterra sales between 2002 and 2007, but the Xterra failed to top the 20,000 mark in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and of course, 2015. Year-to-date, Xterra volume is down 99 percent to 30 units.

Nissan Cube: 14
Americans have shown their willingness to buy boxes. Consider the first-generation Scion xB, or both the original and second-generation Kia Souls. But the quirky Cube was seemingly just a little too JDM for the American market. More than 44,000 units were sold in 2009 and 2010, combined, but only 32,329 Cubes have been sold since. Year-to-date, Cube sales are down 98 percent to 14.

Scion xD: 8
The xD and its xA predecessor were always the forgotten Scions, overshadowed by the first xB and then the tC and then by the market as a whole. Nearly 101,000 xDs have been sold since 2007, but barely more than 17,000 in the last three years. In 2016’s first four months, xD sales fell 99 percent to a grand total of eight.

2014 Scion iQ

Scion iQ: 4
You know a car is failing when it’s wildly less popular in comparison with its wildly unpopular direct rival. The Smart Fortwo is not a common car. The Scion iQ is less common. 15,699 iQs have been sold in America since December 2011, including four this year. Smart sold 39,686 Fortwos during the same period.

Toyota FJ Cruiser: 4
Blame poor visibility, awkward doors, styling that ran its course, or the Jeep Wrangler. But the FJ Cruiser was always in a perpetual state of decline. Sales fell 98 percent to 4 units in 2016’s first four months. FJ Cruiser volume fell in six of the previous nine years, as well, tumbling 76 percent between 2006 and 2014.

Mini Roadster: 3
Aside from the Paceman and euthanized Coupe, what do Mini buyers not want? A two-seat Roadster. The Mini Convertible outsold the Mini Roadster by more than two-to-one between 2012 and 2015. All-time, Mini USA sold 7,716 Roadsters, including a 99-percent drop to three Roadsters in 2016’s first four months.

Jaguar XK: 3
The XK is dead. Long live the F-Type. XK sales fell 99 percent to three units in 2016’s first-third. Jaguar USA reported 12,410 F-Type sales in the last three years. XK sales in the five calendar years leading up to the F-Type’s launch totalled 11,363 units.

Land Rover LR2: 3
Land Rover’s Discovery Sport is taking over where the LR2 unceremoniously left off. Never sufficiently premium to justify its price tag, always overshadowed by the upper-crust Range Rover members of the Land Rover family, and simply not modern enough in a sector increasingly controlled by high-performing on-road rivals, U.S. Freelander/LR2 sales fell 76 percent between 2002 and 2014. Three LR2s were reported sold by Land Rover in 2016’s first four months.

Mazda2: 3
Who needs a low-volume subcompact hatchback when you can sell a sedan version of that car to Toyota (Scion iA) and make more money selling a crossover-ized version of that hatchback in your own showrooms? The Mazda CX-3 is averaging 1,500 monthly U.S. sales, something the departed Mazda2 hadn’t done since 2012. Year-to-date, Mazda2 sales are down 99 percent to three units.

2009 Acura TSX

Acura TSX: down 91.3% to 2
Like the TL, the Acura TSX sedan (and wagon!) were replaced by one car, the Acura TLX sedan. The first TSX exemplified Acura at its best: affordable, handsome, sporty, reliable semi-luxury. Acura sold 38,000 in 2006. Fewer than 18,000 TSXs were sold in 2013, including 1,976 wagons. Year-to-date, TSX sales are down 91 percent to two units. Both were sedans.

Honda Ridgeline: down 99.6% to 2
American Honda sold more than 50,000 Ridgelines in the model’s best ever year of 2006, the truck’s first full year of availability. But Ridgeline volume decreased in each of the four following years, and sales in 2014 were 73 percent lower than in 2006. Two Ridgelines were sold in the first four months of 2016: one in January, another in April. Honda Canada reported seven Ridgeline sales in January, having presumably located the old trucks in a Markham, Ontario, parking garage beside some CR-Zs and Acura ZDXs.

[Image Sources: Honda, Toyota, Mini, Nissan]

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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67 Comments on “America’s Zombie Autos: Forgotten But Not-Quite-Gone Yet, These 17 Autos Keep Finding Buyers...”


  • avatar

    I can’t help but notice how spacious most of them are!

    I didn’t see any Mazda Miatas with manuals on this list.

    And I actually liked the Venza despite the “professionals” disdain for it.

    And the Crosstour- and the Ridgeline.

    They fit very specific niches and fit them well.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Niches don’t carry the volume figures to be worthwhile – it’s why they’re cancelled!

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Yeah, I I don’t mind the Venza and I could see myself in a Crosstour if the stars aligned properly. You’d think a lifted Camry/Accord wagon would be an easy sell, but seems that only works if it’s wearing a Subaru badge.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        The Crosstour had serious rear visibility problems, major design flaw. It was a cool concept, but I guess the market just placed too much value on actually seeing out the back window.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          True enough. And it was ugly to most.

          And yet, resale value on Crosstours seems absurdly high.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Is that better/worse proportionately than the even -more- ungainly and rare ZDX?

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Funny you should ask, but my anecdotal evidence (maybe 28CL can bring the real data) is that the ZDX has also retained value well.

            They seem to be worth about the same as a similar vintage MDX, which is decent resale value.

            Honda reputation + AWD + leather = consumer demand.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Ugh. MDX all the day long!

          • 0 avatar

            Yes, MDX. I’m convinced Acura got s spyshot of the X6 and thought it a great idea, so fought to get in on it. it turns out to be nothing….

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Put in the camp that likes the Venza. I found the style unoffensive and the concept solid. It was niche, and the other CUV offerings on the Toyota showroom floor were the biggest competitors – oh and the advertising campaigns Toyota ran for the Venza SUCKED.

        The Venza, the sort of SUV for old people who don’t want to feel old, but your kids won’t be caught dead in it.

        WTF were they thinking?

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        It also works fine for Ford (Edge) and Nissan (Murano). Two vehicles that are everything the Venza tried, but failed,to be.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        It’d help if it was actually a wagon, in shape; it has more in common with a 335GT in shape.

        Not a lot of cargo space under that hatch, unlike in a Forester or Outback.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          The Venza is actually surprisingly roomy, don’t let the attempt at avant-garde styling fool you. 36.2 cu ft of cargo space with seats up puts it ahead of the Outback and Forester.

          My issue is that the car had massive 20 inch wagon wheels, and looked out of proportion even with large 18 inch wheels. This was also the low point in Toyota interior design and quality IMO. A perfectly reliable Toyota Camry “wagon” with the creamy corporate 3.5L v6 and AWD sounds pretty good to me, but they got enough details wrong to turn me off of it completely.

          • 0 avatar
            Fred

            The problem I had with the Venza is the back is a collection of loose hard plastic panels, sure to be a vibrating nightmare. Not to mention a rather old looking interior. I think Toyota gave up early in it’s production life.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            The interior of the Venza is a complete sloppy mess of mismatched materials and lines. I don’t have much problem with the rest of the car, as discount RX/Highlander item for those not needing 7-seats.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      I test drove a Crosstour.

      It drove just fine, and the rear visibility was made acceptable by the camera.

      The infonav system was *so abysmal* I crossed it off the list instantly, however.

      (It also turned out I really wanted a bigger class of vehicle; like the Allroad I tried earlier that day, it was just too small for what I ended up realizing I needed.

      The Allroad was a better car in every way *except price and reliability*, though.)

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    This article needs amended to declare the last year of manufacture for each vehicle. I was grasping for dates through the entire thing.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      TTAC could likely do an entire article about when the last NEW Chrysler Crossfire was sold. Production ended in 2007 but I seem to remember an article about unsold ones still being on dealer lots in 2009.

      Then we should take bets on when the last new Chrysler 200 will be sold.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Wasn’t there Mitsubishi 3000GTs being sold in 2001/2002?

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I hope so. I love the 3000GT, especially the very rare convertible version.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            I’ve always been more of a Supra fan, yet I’ve seen more 3000GTs (in Dodge Stealth form) than Supras.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            The 3000GT is elevated to me because it was available with AWD.

            Now, if we’re talking overall styling and certainly build quality – Supra all day long. Remember though the 3000GT spanned two generations of Supra. It handily beats the older Supra, and falls down to the newer one.

          • 0 avatar
            SilverCoupe

            I wanted to like the Stealth and 3000 GT-VR4, I really did, but did you ever drive them? They feel so heavy! In ’91 I drove the Stealth Turbo, but ended up buying the Supra Turbo. When it was time to replace the Supra in 2001 and I wanted AWD, I drove a used 3000 GT-VR4, but this time I went with an Audi TT. Yes, the Mitsubishi twins were faster, but they just were not that fun to drive.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I think they were more GT than sports car. Much like the Subaru SVX. I’d take a clean one of those over the 3000GT, and the Supra over the Mitsu.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            It kind of does look like a budget Ferrari in cabriolet guise (if you have cataracts).

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Just the shape and proportions of the 3000GT are great – show that to -any- child, in 1990 or in 2016, and say “What is that?”

            “SPORTS CAR!”

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Cars like that linger (Crossfire, SSR, Prowler) until old dudes with gold chains come and buy them as “investment” and put them in their “garage” and don’t drive them.

        They get parked next to their 2001 Trans-Am FH35 or whatever that was called. And a Purp Drank Impala SS.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Nobody bought a Crossfire as an “investment” but I agree this occurred with Prowler and SSR.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I bet there are old dudes with convertible ones storing them right meow.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            I cannot believe what SSRs sell for. I honestly thought this would be an easy one to pick up on the cheap and have a fun, barely practical convertible with LS power.

            For a vehicle no one wanted, the value holds remarkably well.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            And, in a decade prior, The Cadillac Allanté and Chrysler TC by Maserati. Suprisingly, the Allanté has a strong following—it has aged well from a design standpoint—but anyone hoping to recruit anything above or even near original MSRP will be sorely disappointed.

          • 0 avatar

            I just sold an ’05 Crossfire Limited roadster with 83k miles and a stick for $8900, so suck it.

            The guy was about 752 years old, granted, but still…

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            He’s probably thinking I may not make 753 so frack it I’m buying the Crossfire.

  • avatar
    86er

    My neighbour across the street has one of those “Crosstours”; man what an ungainly thing. At least it’s in a nice shade of maroon.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      That seems to be the most common color for them from my observances. Maroon followed by graphite, then maybe occasionally a blue and white.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Maroon is definitely common; I see a lot of white ones. I thought it was ungainly, too. It would have done better if it had been a proper wagon shape (especially since the last two versions of the Pilot have had very polarizing designs) instead of a lift-back.

  • avatar
    matt3319

    I would have snatched up a remaining FJ or Xterra a few month back before I bought my Cherokee Trailhawk. I actually did a search on Cars.com for both but didn’t find any within 500 miles of me. I probably should have been a bit more diligent but I wasn’t. Oh well the Trailhawk is sweet. Just crossed over 25 MPG combines according to the computer. It’s a V6 and normally run 75-80 on highway.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I did not care for the I4-powered Cherokee Limited I had as a rental, but I hear the V6 is considerably better to drive. Thoughts?

      • 0 avatar

        It has the 9sp with the infamous dog clutch. If you aren’t an autojourno, you’ll never notice that anything is amiss when driving it. Yes, some shifts take longer than others. But there is huge number of completely unpredictable automatics out there, which was way worse despite their conventional design.

      • 0 avatar
        enzl

        My wife has had her TH for about 15 months…6 cylinders makes all the difference in this application. I like the truck — and its alot better driver than anything else with its capabilities.

        The 9 speed is no better/worse than the myriad of automatics I drive regularly. Between the computer learning your driving style, the rush to get to a higher gear, the # of gears (or DCT lurch or CVT rubber-banding) and some funky ratio choices across the board, automatics in general have become more ‘noticeable’, IMO

      • 0 avatar
        Eyeflyistheeye

        I loved the I4 Cherokee Latitude I had as a rental and knew what to expect with the ZF9HP, so I had a good time and got 31 mpg on the highway. The only thing that stopped me from seriously considering one was its awful FCA crapshoot reliability. It doesn’t help either that the Promasters in my company’s fleet are utter rubbish and my counterpart at Enterprise who’s quickly becoming my friend and procures the rental fleet vehicles for us told me most of the Promaster Cities with the 9HP have had myriad issues.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    Hah, the Crosstour is outselling the Venza, take that Toyota XD

  • avatar
    360joules

    It offends me that the Xterra is included on this list of Worst Escapees From the Island of Misfit Toys. The first gen make/made very capable off-roaders mostly stock with a brush bar & some steelies with some good all-terrain tires. Short wheelbase, good approach/departure angles, decent skid plates, narrow width….so much goodness.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      The problem with the Xterra is it was ignored from a R&D stand point and went from a great SUV to just a woefully outdated vehicle outclassed across the field.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      2nd gen is very much as capable, but even more-so due to the available locking rear diff.

      And I think you mean a steel bumper, not brush guard. Brush guards do nothing except make approach angles worse and serve as “damage multipliers” when they do encounter an unyielding obstacle.

  • avatar
    mikeg216

    Wouldn’t mind a new fj or xterra

  • avatar
    Fred

    I’ll admit to buying my TSX wagon knowing there were only a couple hundred left. Not really an issue if you like the car.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    The Infiniti Q40 shows Renault’s influence on Nissan. Renault used to be famous for continuing to sell old models alongside their replacements.

    As for long-dead cars, some friends of mine once bought a new Buick Terraza minivan that had been sitting on the dealer’s lot for two years after they had been discontinued. What a pathetic minivan, with the rear floor raised three inches above the liftgate sill, so that the third seat could fold flat. GM engineering at its worst.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      I’ve actually ran into people who liked the awful Uplander and twins, as well as the shameful Freestar/Monterey. I wouldnt have one unless I was going to crush it for scrap metal. The only Ford minivan (other than Transit Connect) that I liked was the Aerostar. It gave you a roomy, comfortable vehicle with a decent ride while also providing truck-like abilities such as decent towing, E4WD if equipped, and a decent payload capacity.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Screw Nissan in the a$$.

      It’s an incompetent company producing mediocrity, at best, and absolute merde, at worst.

      It’s waning closer & closer to Mitsubishi, & further & further from its 1980s to very early 2000s maker relative good things with each passing year since.

      Nissan started to REALLY decline in approximately 2006.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        I see plenty of 4th and 5th generation Maximas around with gaping rot particularly in the rear quarters. Unusual considering rust prevention has been vastly improved by most manufacturers in the past 20 plus years.

        Also in the late 90’s-2000’s Carlos Ghosn went bean counter on the interior furnishing. A relative of mine had a early 00’s Quest. What a cheap and dreadful dash.

      • 0 avatar
        Eyeflyistheeye

        It’s waning so close to Mitsubishi that Nissan decided to buy them yuk yuk yuk

        But I never trusted Nissan after Ghosn’s hatchet man, Patrick Pelata said that he intentionally cheapened parts because “who needs a door latch that lasts for 20 years?” Most Nissans have a feeling of disposability that their counterparts from Toyota and Honda lack.

  • avatar
    zip89105

    If I cash to burn I’d already be driving a Lexus LFA.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    If I was a dealer with ‘500 day’, sales lemons from 1-2 year ago, I’d park the turds on the carrier for the return trip home. At least the truck’s not going back empty, deadheading. But the manufacturer should buy them all back or they’re FREE.

  • avatar
    brn

    Not a single domestic in the list? Hmmmm….

    Btw: The Crosstour doesn’t photograph well, but it’s not all that revolting in person. Not pretty, but not revolting.

  • avatar
    stuki

    What happened to the convertible SUV than Nissan was selling? Now, THAT’s niche.

  • avatar
    Mikein08

    The Nissan Xterra is no long produced, which likely accounts for it’s
    few recent sales. It was an excellent vehicle (I own one) and a very
    viable alternative to the Wrangler. As for the Ridgeline, it was/is
    built on the same platform as the Odyssey and cannot be considered a
    real truck.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    When I saw zombie-autos, I was thinking Olds Aurora, Pontiac Grand-AM, and Plymouth Breeze. Yes, they’re “orphan” cars, but zombie fits beause their nameplates are already dead. The cars listed are just models being discontinued and are still being sold new from existing stock, so zombie doesn’t quite fit. They’re more like the future “ghosts of Christmas Past.”

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