America's Zombie Autos: Forgotten But Not-Quite-Gone Yet, These 17 Autos Keep Finding Buyers

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Timothy Cain
Timothy Cain

More by Timothy Cain

Comments
Join the conversation
4 of 67 comments
  • Mikein08 Mikein08 on May 11, 2016

    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.

    • See 1 previous
    • DenverMike DenverMike on May 12, 2016

      @namstrap The Ridgeline is transverse engine, strictly awd, single range and IRS. The next gen will offer strictly fwd, or optional strictly awd. That'll be the world's 1st, midsize "fwd pickup", I believe.

  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on May 13, 2016

    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."

  • NJRide So this is an average age of car to be junked now and of course this is a lower end (and now semi-orphaned) product. But street examples seem to still be worth 2500? So are cars getting junked only coming in because of a traumatic repair? If not it seems a lot of cars being junked that would still possibly worth more than scrap.Also Murilee I remember your Taurus article way back what is the king of the junkyard in 2024?
  • AMcA I applaud Toyota for getting away from the TRD performance name. TuRD. This is another great example of "if they'd just thought to preview the name with a 13 year old boy."
  • Jeff Does this really surprise anyone? How about the shoes and the clothes you wear. Anything you can think of that is either directly made in China or has components made in China likely has some slave labor involved. The very smart phone, tablet, and laptop you are using probably has some component in it that is either mined or made by slave labor. Not endorsing slave labor just trying to be real.
  • Jeff Self-driving is still a far ways from being perfected. I would say at the present time if my car took over if I had a bad day I would have a much worse day. Would be better to get an Uber
  • 2manyvettes Time for me to take my 79 Corvette coupe out of the garage and drive if to foil the forces of evil. As long as I can get the 8 track player working...
Next