By on November 28, 2017

2018 Acura RLX

None of us can predict the future, but just think of the penthouse-in-Dubai levels of cash that awaits us if we could. Alas, all we can do is follow existing trends and make a best guess.

In the automotive world, the fate of a car model lies at the intersection of sales, industry direction, and emerging technologies. SUVs and crossovers hang like a blade over the necks of all traditional passenger cars, and autonomous vehicles menace everything with a steering wheel. Electric motors threaten to turn the exhaust note into a distant memory. Governments and regulators stand in the shadows, eager to spring forth one day and spoil all of our internal combustion fun. In spite of all of these factors, there’s still bold predictions made every day about the future of the industry in five, 10, 20, 50 years.

Today, we’re asking you to peer into the Magic 8 Ball and make a prediction of your own. A very specific prediction, to be clear, and it only needs to involve one model: the next U.S.-market sedan to die.

If you say it’s either the Honda Accord or Toyota Camry, well, we know you’re just trolling. Stop it! Those models are quickly gobbling up market share in a shrinking sales pie. They’ll likely be around until the bitter end (when we’re all driving four-door SUV coupes).

Former sales champs have also taken a drubbing in recent months — among them, the newly refreshed Hyundai Sonata. Ford’s ever popular Fusion, the midsize pinnacle of engine choice, is also on its way down. Still, there’s enough volume to keep both of those models out of the cull category for some time.

Mazda has just redesigned its slinky (but hard-luck) 6, so there’s still life in that product. Perhaps we should look downmarket for the prime candidate? Ford plans to slash model configurations for future Focus sedans, but the move to build the compact in China for way less cost than before could give that model a new lease on life. If it’s still decently profitable, despite falling sales, why not keep it around for longer than planned? You know, go the FCA route.

Any member of Cadillac’s hard-luck sedan lineup doesn’t rate as a worthy answer, as we know there’s a changeover due after the 2019 model year. The nosediving ATS and CTS, along with the ancient (but still strong-selling) XTS, go into the blender that year, emerging as two wholly new models — each targeting a carefully chosen price bracket.

This author’s Magic 8 Ball doesn’t have all the answers. If it did, he’d have bought Bitcoin when it first came out, as well as some Canadian mail-order marijuana stock. Still, the Acura ILX — routinely ignored and riding on the previous-generation Civic’s platform — makes a good case for extinction. We haven’t heard any commitment to the model’s future from the folks at Acura. Adding to the suspicion is the special edition bowing for the 2018 model year.

If you listen carefully, you might just hear a swan song.

So, can you see the future? Remember, this isn’t a model you’d like to see killed; rather, it’s the next four-door sedan that will meet its maker. Name it.

[Image: Acura]

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47 Comments on “QOTD: Which Sedan’s Door Will the Grim Reaper Knock on Next?...”

  • avatar

    The Chevy Malibu is a good candidate. I’ve never seen the latest generation on the road! Not even at the car rental agencies.

    • 0 avatar

      Not sure where you live, but the Malibu’s a popular model here in the Midwest.

    • 0 avatar

      The Malibu 2.0T has been running rings around the Accord V6 in peformance test of late. The 2018 Accord 2.0T is finally matching the Malibu that was redesigned in 2016.

    • 0 avatar

      The Malibu and Impala are too close in size. I’d say one has to go.

      • 0 avatar

        Malibu will live. Impala will probably die.

        Cruze will live, but Sonic and/or Spark will die. Of course, only Sonic comes as a sedan, so that’s semi-irrelevant to this question.

        Reportedly, the Taurus nameplate may live as a stretched Fusion. But that may die afterward if it doesn’t sell, and it probably won’t.

        Korean slow sellers like K900 and Cadenza may live because they cost little to offer, since they’re made for the home market anyway.

        I wouldn’t be surprised if Mitsu scrubbed its plans to badge-engineer a midsize sedan. Simply no market.

        The comment below about killing off the Legacy makes a lot of sense, though I’d hate to see it go.

        Passat will probably live in some form. Then again, they could simply abandon the mass market in this class and let the CC successor (Arthouse? Avalon? Avarice? Amorphous?) fill the void.

    • 0 avatar

      Wow I see no less than 50 new style Malibu’s a day in Upstate, NY area. They are literally everywhere.

  • avatar

    Probably the K900. Kia sells about 30 of them a month, the Stinger acts as a better brand ambassador, and I don’t see Hyundai wanting to dilute Genesis by offering a future Kia version of the G90.

    • 0 avatar

      Or the Lexus GS.

      • 0 avatar
        Akhil Malhotra

        The GS is slated for a funeral in the next year or two, per Lexus. It doesn’t make sense for Lexus to continue selling a slow-selling RWD sedan when the ES outperforms the GS in sales by a wide margin.

        A shame, as I really like the GS. Too bad they’ve diluted it with the GS200t, GS300, etc., and still stick with that antiquated Toyo-Lexus Enform Suite ‘o crap infotainment system.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      I would agree, especially with the Genesis line up. I always felt the K900 was made so the Kia dealer principals could have a luxury car to drive to work everyday that represented the brand.

    • 0 avatar

      Don’t see Kia abandoning the K900 in the US for at least the next gen model (which should be a major improvement with sleeker sheetmetal).

      The addition of the Stinger should actually help the K900 (likely to get a name-change) as what has hurt the K900 is not having a lower-priced model to “help set the table” – so to speak as the Genesis sedan did for the Equus (a good # of Genesis owners migrated to the Equus).

      Hyundai has no say on whether Kia builds the K900 or offers it in the US.

  • avatar

    If a slow selling sedan is dropped, does anyone notice?

  • avatar

    The Taurus. Ford has not bothered to bring the new one here.

    • 0 avatar

      This is my vote. The Taurus is long overdue for execution, and there has been no mention of a replacement. They’ve already said we’re not getting the Chinese version, which is on the CD4 platform with the Continental.

      I think it’s done. Perhaps replaced by a Fusion L.

      • 0 avatar

        This was the first car that came to mind. Then I thought about the fleets, specifically law enforcement, and realized I’ve seen more Explorers with lightbars than the current Taurus. I know two cops personally and they both prefer the Explorer, excepting that whole carbon monoxide issue.

  • avatar

    I’m going to predict the Americanized Passat. They moved below 4000 units in October. With the Atlas and LWB Tiguan on dealer lots, why should the Passat still exist? It’s obvious that the US/Canada will never get another Passat wagon.

    • 0 avatar

      Nah! The Passat has always been a slow seller compared to the Accord/Camry. I’ve owned 2 Passat R-Lines. Both were good cars with style and huge back seat. The Passat and Mazda6 aren’t huge sellers and you don’t see 12 on each corner. I like that. Might be ready for another Passat R-Line in May when my daughter gets my car.

  • avatar
    Sammy B

    ILX would make sense, but two things may save it: 1) probably a low development cost since it shares so much with Civic and 2) Acura could use something lower than entry TLX (just from a price point perspective). Neither are terribly compelling reasons to make a next gen, though.

    Other thoughts: Either of the Mitsubishi sedans. Could this be last gen of Maxima? Lexus GS may finally be squeezed out. Subaru Legacy…just don’t see a lot

    • 0 avatar

      It wouldn’t surprise me if the Maxima dies off. Its days were numbered the moment Nissan put a V6 in the Altima. They’ve just tried so hard to keep it alive, maybe for nostalgia reasons.

      With Infiniti “just a little bit more” and Altima “just a little bit less” the Maxima hasn’t been in a good place for a very long time.

      • 0 avatar

        The maxima sells surprisingly well – even if it is rental car fodder. I would guess that many subcompact and compact sedans are next to leave – even hatchbacks seem to command more money now. Add an elevated hatch like Subaru and you’ve increased the average selling price by thousands. Can’t see Chevy making the Sonic domestically for much longer, and is the focus sedan needed enough by rental agencies to justify its existence?

    • 0 avatar

      ILX can live, but only if they (a) pay attention to the price in the market (no, Acura, it’s not a $36K vehicle, no matter how good the crack is you’re smoking), and (b) continue to distinguish it from the Civic like they did with the 2016 refresh.

      Absent those things, there will be no 2019 ILX.

      Give me an ILX Type R. Put adult clothes on the Civic Type R, give it the DCT, and let ‘er rip. If I knew that was coming, I’d put off the GTI purchase I’m seriously considering. ($10K off end of year 2017 models…)

  • avatar

    Subaru Legacy. They have to discount the hell out of them to sell them while the outback version can’t stay on the lot.

    Every Legacy they move at a discount could have been an outback sold at a profit. It won’t be long until Subaru removes that deadwood from their lineup

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Buick LaCrosse & Chevrolet Impala.

    GM has resisted, shockingly, packing these into rental fleets. They can be found, but are not as omnipresent as the Altima, Camry, & Charger.

    Ford Taurus: I hardly ever see them. Gregg mentioned it above, and honestly I can’t be sure if Ford has not already dropped it and just failed to let us know. I would need to go to Ford’s web site….

    Nissan Sentra: serves no purpose an Altima can’t for basically the same price after rebates.

    Kia sedan: not sure of the names, but at least one them. I never see any on the road.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Lexus GS, unfortunately. We prefer a four cylinder soggy BMW twice as often.

  • avatar

    I’m confused – is the picture of the RLX a mistake, or did the author just try to throw us off what his guess would be?

  • avatar

    The smartest people on the planet have missed this opportunity to repeat their prediction of Tesla’s demise.

  • avatar

    “…but the move to build the compact [Focus] in China for way less cost than before could give that model a new lease on life…”

    Or it will be last nail in the coffin.

    I would think, next death will be from the large sedan segment.

  • avatar
    George B

    In my opinion the most endangered are slow-selling non-luxury large sedans where the manufacturer has both a large intermediate sedan below it and a more profitable large near-luxury sedan above it. Taurus, Impala, Azera, Cadenza, Maxima, etc. Each redesign of the large intermediate seems to include a size increase that makes the largest sedan more redundant and many buyers for the largest sedan are willing to step up to the near-luxury version of the car if the price step isn’t too steep. Highest trim Ford to lowest trim Lincoln for example.

  • avatar

    Mazda6. They barely sell and are made in Japan. Everyone wants someone else to buy one.

    The Fusion is ancient but still younger than the Taurus. The Impala is a fleet queen and not worth updating plus the styling never looked quite right – it’s ungainly and offers little more room than the Malibu.

  • avatar

    I dunno I’m probably not buying one as my next vehicle.

  • avatar
    Griffin Mill

    The correct answer is Ford Taurus. They have no intention of replacing this already ancient model. They have just introduced a police version of the Fusion Hybrid, and highway patrols only purchase the Explorer Interceptor anyway. It is a dead car walking… I personally like this Taurus, but the space efficiency was terrible, the D3 platform is too heavy, and the car is becoming as dated as the old Panther Crown Victoria was towards the end.

  • avatar

    Taurus and Impala are dead men walking. Besides, if they killed Impala, would anyone notice? They have enough on hand for the next 6-8 months. It would kind of suck, as a relative works at that plant that makes Impala/LaCrosse/tarted up Impala, I mean XTS. After that? Acura ILX. A $30k tarted up last generation Civic? I bet those are flying off the lots.

  • avatar

    Ford D3/4 will live on as fleet. GM seemed to think the Epi II sedans could be sold at a premium, oops. Look for them to go fleet. Ditto with Chrysler LX which IMO will be the great survivor and outlast them all. Mazda needs all of the sales it can muster so 6 will continue. Subaru seeks volume so no change there. VAG won’t be changing anytime soon. Honda has no reason to change its Acura facade in the face of free margin on existing models thus I expect business as usual. Camcord (inc Altima) will *be* the segment with GM/Ford FWD acting as the D-segment retail sedan model for their respective marques. Depending on which platform it uses, Maxima may be next volume sedan gone since it occupies a position no longer needed and does nothing better than Altima. The Regal may or may not beat Maxima to the graveyard depending on how the new model is received and the future production agreements with PSA. If Maxima wins, I expect it to be next in line.

    If we rope in semi-luxury models such as the K Nine Thousaaaaand it is possible they bite the dust sooner, but its hard to say as somehow it may make sense to keep them even with low sales volume.

  • avatar

    My first vehicle was a truck, then a coupe, then a sedan, then two SUVs, a coupe, then a truck and now…

    I’m back to an anonymous sedan. A 2+2 coupe is all I needed 90% of the time but a sedan is more comfortable and being a dad I am more responsible driving a Fusion than the Mustang GT.

    I’m over the crap MPG and driving dynamics of SUVs though we still have one because my wife insists… and it is admittedly good for extended family road trips.

    Anyway… my vote for the next sedan to go bye bye is the Taurus. The Fusion can fill it’s shoes (including police duty).

  • avatar

    Well bank on the Taurus after 2018 in the US. The Impala and LaCrosse might not live past 2019. And isn’t the Hyundai Azera dead after 2017? I also don’t see a very long future for the Kia K-900 and Cadenza. Maybe 2020 will be their last.

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