QOTD: Which Car Models Need to Die Immediately?

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

Today’s marketplace is a crowded affair. Each manufacturer seems to sit down at the table every new model year with more. More variants, more things with all-wheel drive, more CUVs, and more vehicles which split the pieces of the sales pie down to ever smaller fragments. This fragmentation leads to the eye splinter above, whatever the hell Toyota thinks it is, which will clog up parking lots everywhere starting next year.

To cure this portion issue, I think some models need to die, and I want you to help me choose which ones.

All this model mania is, of course, in the quest of greater market share. Ford announced several more upcoming SUV models, and Mercedes-Benz has a coupe/convertible/crossover variant of just about everything they make. Mercedes is so keen on segment splitting that it currently offers 27 distinct passenger models today — and that’s before you consider trims and AMG variants. Ford’s at 19 models, not including its commercial options.

Some of you will cry, “ Choice is good!” to which I retort it is not good in a market that has split beyond rationality in design and function. It’s all too much now. We need to lower the denominator.

Today I’m asking about which models you see as existing without reason. Often there’s too much overlap with the next model above or beneath a given entry in terms of size, price, equipment, or usage. Other times it’s painfully obvious the particular segment entry isn’t any good, and another choice from the same manufacturer does the task better, cheaper, or with more appealing aesthetics. Let me give you an example.

Which two Minis are they? Any guesses? The image on top is the Clubman, and the lower is the Countryman. I propose one or both of these models is a prime example of the gross and wanton overlap found in today’s market.

From the Mini site, regarding these:

A sophisticated new aesthetic, it’s the most spacious and versatile MINI yet.

The Biggest, Most Adventurous MINI yet.

Now forgiving the capitalization inconsistencies Mini has created between these two quotes, I’d understand if you weren’t sure to which vehicle these marketing phrases applied. It’s unfortunate the most spacious and versatile vehicle is not the same as the biggest and most adventurous — so pick your poison. Perhaps they vary widely by specification?

Clubman

5 trims, manual and automatic, all-wheel drive available, $24,100 – $35,100

Dimensions: 168″ L x 71″ W x 57″ H

Countryman

4 trims, manual and automatic, all-wheel drive available, $26,600 – $31,600

Dimensions: 170″ L x 72″ W x 61″ H

There seem to be a couple inches of difference in dimensions, and most of the time spending less money nets you a bigger vehicle that looks exactly the same. One of them needs to be killed with fire.

So now you see my problem, B&B. Which other models deserve an immediate axe to the face?

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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  • NMGOM NMGOM on Aug 17, 2017

    TTAC: "QOTD: Which Car Models Need to Die Immediately?" ANS: 1) All Sedans 2) All FWD vehicles 3) All vehicles without manual transmissions. Believe me, guys, what is left would make a safer, better world...(^_^)... ============================

  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Aug 17, 2017

    Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

  • V16 2025 VW GLI...or 2025 Honda Civic SI? Same target audience, similar price points. Both are rays of sun in the gray world of SUV'S.
  • FreedMike Said this before and I'll say it again: I'm not that exercised about this whole "pay for a subscription" thing, as long as the deal's reasonable. And here's how you make it reasonable: offer it a monthly charge. Let's say that adaptive headlights are a $500 option on this vehicle, and the subscription is $15 a month, or $540 over a three year lease. So you try the feature for a month, and if you like it, you keep it; if you don't, then you discontinue it, like a Netflix subscription. In any case, you didn't get charged $500 up front the feature. That's not a bad deal.In my case, let's say VW offers an over the air chip reflash that gives me another 25 hp. The total price of the upgrade is $1,000 (which is what a reflash would cost you in the aftermarket). If they offered me a one time monthly subscription for $50 to try it out, I'd take it. In other words, maybe the news isn't all bad.
  • 2ACL A good car, but - at least in this configuration -not one that should command a premium. Its qualities just aren't as enduring as those of Honda's contemporary sports cars. For better or worse, this is a formula they remain able to replicate.
  • Jalop1991 I just read that Tesla's profits are WAY down "as the electric vehicle company has faced both more EV competition from established automakers and a slowing of overall EV sales growth." This Cadillac wouldn't help Tesla at all, but the slowing market of EV sales overall means this should be a halo/boutique car. Regardless, yes, they should make it.
  • FreedMike It's just a damn shame that Alfa never conquered its' quality demons in time for the Giulia and Stelvio to hit the market - these are loaded with personality, and we need more product like that.
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