By on January 2, 2018

So dawns a new year, ripe with promise and expectation. Millions of babies will draw their first breath in 2018, and those babies’ parents, aunts, uncles, or grandparents will drive off in 16 million or so new vehicles over the course of the coming year. In the U.S., of course.

Unfortunately, to keep the automotive herd healthy, the weakest will have to die. And in 2018, some vehicle nameplates will discover their lifespan has a definitive end point.

Yes, we’ve asked you before about which model (or models) you’d like to see six feet under. We’ve also asked your thoughts on which sedan — a bodystyle now worthy of pity — is ready to shuffle into the afterlife. Perhaps your answer for that question is the same as for this one.

Because we know 2018 will bring news of a model’s scheduled termination at the hands of an automaker pursuing greater profits and greater investment in hotter segments, we’re extending the question to cover all cars, trucks, and SUVs. Which model will be the next to see an official confirmation of its looming death?

There’s much talk of the Ford Fusion’s execution these days, making it a solid candidate. The Blue Oval thinks fuel economy isn’t a big consideration anymore, at least not at a reason for keeping sedans alive. Still, Dearborn’s not coming right out and saying it — not yet, anyway.

Maybe the next model to leave our lives is one that’s long since left our hearts and minds. Maybe it never even entered. Maybe it’s the Kia Cadenza. Or, maybe General Motors has a better subcompact crossover than the Chevrolet Trax on its mind.

The possibilities are many, the choices vast. So, Best and Brightest, stop thinking about rebirth and personal improvement and all that optimistic New Year stuff and start thinking about death.

[Image: Kia Motors]

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170 Comments on “QOTD: Who Will Be First Against the Wall?...”


  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    Dodge Journey

  • avatar
    Jeremiah Mckenna

    How about they come to grips with reality and stop calling these cars XUV/CUV/SUV and call them what they really are,… WAGONS. Unless it is as capable on road as it is off road, it is not a true Sport Utility Vehicle, and most of the other cars in this category also don’t have the ground clearance needed to roll down a gravel road, let alone in an off road situation. In fact, I’ve seen more off road prowess in an AWD Sienna as compared to the list of vehicles in the XUV/CUV/SUV line ups.

    • 0 avatar
      DearS

      Not ready for that yet. SUV is fine.

    • 0 avatar
      sirwired

      While functionally they are pretty much wagons, the styling of crossovers is distinct enough from wagons that a separate category makes sense if you are a marketing flack trying to figure out how to sell a particular model.

      • 0 avatar
        Jeremiah Mckenna

        Styling distinct enough to be different? How, because they have taller tires now? There isn’t anything different between a wagon and a modern day SUV. In fact, Jeep started the trend with the Grand WAGONeer, and Dodge Power WAGON.

        The roof line does not fall or rise after the C-pillar on either, and the hatch is the same, either a side hinge or a top hinge.

        Not to mention that on the registration it says either sedan, wagon or truck.

        They are all wagons, just called something different for marketing. Is a boot and a trunk different, or a bonnet and a hood?

        • 0 avatar
          brandloyalty

          Nah. I had a ’79 Impala wagon, and since then several small suv’s. The wagon did some things better (smoooth, powerful, sleeping space, seated 6); the suv’s did other things better (rough roading, mileage). (Current one has sleepable space and uses less than half the gas the wagon did.) No way are they the same thing.

      • 0 avatar
        Jeremiah Mckenna

        Remember the AMC Eagle Wagon?

        https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiU9q3J9rnYAhXBKWMKHeoFAUgQjRwIBw&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pinterest.com%2Fpin%2F351491945888194701%2F&psig=AOvVaw1VrUMw5D9ZqLIvSwstGIV1&ust=1515004693820016

    • 0 avatar
      Daniel J

      Sorry, but I refuse to call anything jacked up several inches and a short trunk a “wagon”. The Jetta SportWagen is a wagon. The Alltrack, IMHO, is an CUV.

  • avatar
    TheEndlessEnigma

    It would be a mistake to kill Fusion. If Ford moves in this direction they will be setting themselves up for failure when the next gasoline price shock happens. not everyone wants a truck, much less and SUV/CUV; somehow Toyota/Honda and to a lesser extend Nissan are about to make desirable, Ford has proven they can do the same.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      I doubt they will kill off the Fusion. Just because it’s selling as well as it used to, doesn’t mean that it’s worth giving up a model that sells more than 200K units in the US alone. This is more volume then many complete automakers.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeremiah Mckenna

      Ford made a huge mistake when they axed the Taurus, which was the best selling mid sized sedan. Then they tried to revive it by rebadging an already failed attempt to revive the Galaxy 500. I see them doing the same with this, even though the Fusion isn’t the best selling sedan in it’s segment, it is a great selling vehicle for them.

      • 0 avatar
        Hank

        Agreed. The Mullaly/Fields era is over, and it sounds like we may in a “back to the 90s” style let’s-see-how-quickly-we-can-shoot-ourselves-in-the-foot contest.

        • 0 avatar
          Jeremiah Mckenna

          I guess Ford doesn’t really care about selling cars these days since their F150 is their cash cow. Ford could stop selling everything but the F150 and Mustang and still be in business. Especially since their best selling SUV, Exploder… I mean Explorer is poisoning people with the exhaust fumes in the cabin.

          • 0 avatar
            geozinger

            You can deride them all you want for selling tons of F-150s and Explorers, but they know what their clients like.

            FoMoCo under Mr. Hackett will be interesting, mostly because like GM (in the USDM) they’re trying very hard to divine the future.

            It’s a scary thought: What if one day, everyone eschews owning a car (or truck or SUV)? The car companies have all of this capital tied up in something that suddenly becomes unwanted. It’s a helluva riddle, to be sure.

            In the interim, they will try to make hay while the sun shines…

          • 0 avatar
            brandloyalty

            @geozinger: Bingo!
            The car companies will stuff the channels as full as possible with expensive outdated junk before a change they know is coming suddenly renders it all pretty much worthless.

      • 0 avatar
        ehaase

        It’s GALAXIE. Misspelling the name of Ford’s classic 1960’s sedan drives me up the wall.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @ehaase – beat me to it.

          The Taurus rebadge was a “500”.

          “Galaxy” IS a MPV sold in the EU.

          “500” was a suffix used on the Ford Custom, Ford Fairlane as well as the Ford Galaxie.

    • 0 avatar
      notwhoithink

      Yeah, I understand that the rumors of the Fusion’s demise are based shifting production at certain facilities, but I have a hard time believing that they’d kill the model altogether. Midsize sedan sales are certainly falling, but they’re still selling around 200,000 Fusions in 2017, with a model/design that was launched for the 2013 model year. By the time 2020 hits (the year that they will shift production to China) that model will be 7 years old and due for a new design.

      Perhaps they’ll consolidate the Fusion and Taurus at that point into an all new model? The current Chinese/7th gen Taurus looks an awful lot like the Fusion already, and Taurus sales have to be pretty poor these days compared to the Fusion (based on what one sees on the roads).

      The only thing that they need to do for the Fusion in 2018 is cut back on the number of engine/option packages available. There’s 6 different powerplants available today (4 conventional, 2 hybrid) and 5 different trim levels (S, SE, Titanium, Platinum, Sport), and that’s before you even get to options within those trims. It’s madness.

    • 0 avatar
      Lichtronamo

      Over 200K units on a platform shared with other models (Edge/MKX/MKZ/Continental) and sold internationally is not a small number that Ford should be walking away from.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I don’t buy into the rumor. Its the 4th best selling midsize, which is something that is worth a pretty good chunk of sales. The cars above it, with the exception of the Accord, are fleet queens, and yes Fusion sells a lot to rental companies too (not as much as Altima and Camry), but its still a major player.

      Sales of midsize sedans in general are on the slide, but Fusion is still a major player.

      The Taurus is the one due for the axe. Its segment is in a steeper decline, its as old as the hills, and the Chicago factory could be better utilized by building the next gen Explorer/Aviator(?) there.

      The Fiesta is also not long for our market, I’m afraid, but I can’t blame Ford for it. I don’t have any proof, but I bet they lose money on the Fiesta overall.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Yeah I expect the Taurus to die when the new Explorer and Aviator since those will be on a new platform and they are most likely hoping to move a fair number of Aviators as well as hopefully keep the Explorer at a similar or higher volume.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      There is zero chance that 2018 will be the last year of the Fusion. When the final numbers for 2010 are in it will account for about 50% of the volume for that platform. Also the word has been that they won’t produce it in the Mexican plant after 2020 meaning we should have 3 more model years before there is a possibility that it would go away. Even then I doubt they will give it the ax as I expect it will still make up an even larger percentage of sales of that platform in Europe.

    • 0 avatar
      Polishdon

      Well, per the Detroit News this morning, Ford has canceled the redesign of the Fusion. http://www.detroitnews.com/story/business/autos/ford/2018/01/03/ford-fusion-redesign-canceled/109111802/

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      I agree. The Fusion is a class act and an engine revamp away from greatness.

  • avatar
    Jeremiah Mckenna

    How about everything FIAT.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Everything from FCA – ALL of it.

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      Yes, because the Jeep brand is sucking money from consumers as fast as they can make them.

      Also, our FCA product is an order of magnitude better in every way then our Nissan product.

      • 0 avatar
        Jeremiah Mckenna

        Nissan worse than FCA? I don’t see that at all. Nissan is a good product, other than them copying the F150 when they redesigned their Titan, they have great products that last a long time.

        • 0 avatar
          raph

          While this is anecdotal Nissan has the worst TPMS system to deal with bar none.

          I swear they hired a bunch of macaque monkies and tossed them paper and crayons and said ” alright boys design me a TPMS system .

          That right there just reinforces the notion that Nissan is the GM of Japan to me at least.

          • 0 avatar
            Jeremiah Mckenna

            Bar none? Well, since they use the same system that Infiniti, Kia, and a few other manufacturers use, I don’t see that as being a huge problem.
            Or you could either inflate your tires or have the sensors set, it usually isn’t a problem unless the temperature drops and some air leaks out, or you have a slow leak in your tires.
            I also have a few people that forget to check the air in their spare tires when the temp drops and they get a reading.

          • 0 avatar
            SC5door

            “Well, since they use the same system that Infiniti, Kia, and a few other manufacturers use, I don’t see that as being a huge problem.”

            Uh what? Just because they use the same supplier, doesn’t mean they use the same software.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            @SC5door, yeah you can bet that they are buying a canned stand alone system that shares the same software across everyone who buys that module.

          • 0 avatar
            jfk-usaf

            three letters…. CVT

          • 0 avatar
            Peter Gazis

            Nope GM makes everything coming out of Japan look like outdated crap.

        • 0 avatar
          Sub-600

          FCA offers powerful cars, trucks, and SUV’s that are fun to drive in many cases (my Charger, for instance). Nissan offers mainly driving appliances. I’ve driven Maximas, Altimas, and a Frontier on occasion and was left uninspired. I would, however, not rank FCA’s quality and reliability above anyone’s, lol. You know what you’re getting into when you buy a FCA product.

          • 0 avatar
            Jeremiah Mckenna

            Charger SE is pretty much equal to a Maxima SR when driven correctly. But the Challenger would be more on the same lines as the 370Z/GT-R.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          ” Nissan is a good product…”

          Obviously, you don’t know the subject. Nissan is alive because it is cheap crap. Hyundai/Kia today have ways better product than Nissan. Nissan was unprofitable and used many suppliers. So, some cars were ok, others not so. Their CEO also CEO of Renault, unified all suppliers and now Nissan as bad as Renault. It uses all the cheap stuff and this is why it is profitable today. Today Nissan produces some of the worst cars.

          • 0 avatar
            ponchoman49

            In my area they are selling on cheap prices and lease deals. That and rental companies are stoking loads of Altima’s and Sentra’s.

        • 0 avatar
          slap

          Nissan has been going downhill. They had great products.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Nissan is good product? Now that is funny right there! Cheap crap, and not even particularly reliable cheap crap. Toyota at least makes superbly reliable cheap crap.

          • 0 avatar
            don1967

            The thicker people pile on the Nissan vitriol in 2018, the more I’m convinced that they don’t know what they’re talking about.

            2002-2006 was the time to bash Nissan. That was the bottom of the barrel in terms of super-cheap interiors, widespread powertrain issues, and general reliability woes. The 2018 models are vastly better, whether we keyboard warriors like them or not.

            Go drive a 2003 Altima and we’ll talk.

        • 0 avatar
          Pete Zaitcev

          Yeah, I have a friend who’s a fanboi not only of Nissan, but also of CVT. He used to drive an X-trail and led a club in his native country. Naturally, as soon as he moved to the U.S., he bought a Murano. Guess what, CVT blew up at 38k. He also bought a Frontier, transmission blew up at 42k. Not a CVT but hardly any better. Meanwhile, I’m driving a Wrangler that has only been to a shop once in 120k, with a minor repair. P.S. That X-trail was a maintenance hog, but nobody cared over there.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        “Yes, because the Jeep brand is sucking money from consumers as fast as they can make them.”

        Of course, Jeep stands alone from the rest of FCA, I just forgot to mention that. Here’s hoping Ford gets Jeep, which should improve the quality at least somewhat.

    • 0 avatar

      “Everything from FCA – ALL of it.”

      Not yet.

      BUT Peter “Autoextremist” DeLorenzo has stated at least twice since Fall that ol’ Serge IS talking with Hyundai and expects a deal before the decade’s out.

      Hyundai gets Ram and Jeep; Dodge and Chrysler are killed off. Serge goes back to Italy leaving mayhem in North America in the face of FCA’s retreat.

  • avatar
    scott25

    Some we know, some speculation

    Ford Fiesta, Flex and C-Max
    Lincoln MKT (if they still make it)
    Kia Cadenza
    Lexus GS and CT
    Toyota Prius V and Prius C
    Mitsubishi i (if they still make it) and Lancer
    Fiat 500L and 500C
    The BMW Gran Turismos
    Subaru Legacy

    I don’t think the Fusion is going anywhere for at least 3 years, and the Journey they’ll keep making as long as people buy it.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeremiah Mckenna

      Lexus GS, why, that is a great car for them. But yes, the CT is gone for 2018.

      Prius V also gone for 2018 in US. Prius C is good seller and will be continued for 2018.

      Ford is continuing the Fiesta, Flex and C-Max for 2018, and they are the ones stating the end of the Fusion. The C-Max needs to continue to sell in order to recoup the money they paid Toyota for their dated 2nd gen Prius technology, so it will be around for a while.

      MKT/FLEX are on the same platform, and won’t go until the Flex does.

      I agree with the Mitsubishi, as I think all Mitsubishi cars need to go away, like the Suzuki automobile brand did.

      I also agree that Fiat needs to go.

      BMW Gran Tourismo? What’s wrong with the sedanahatch,… or is it the hatchadan? But still selling in 2018.

      Subaru Legacy also here to stay.

      Dodge will stop making cars even though people are buying them. Just look at their entire history.

      Kia Cadenza was slated to be discontinued a few years ago since it wasn’t selling, and is an ugly car to begin with.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        The GS is faltering badly in sales. Less than half the volume of the four cylinder 5 series in 2016, slipping to 1/5 through October 2017. The GS is almost certainly a superior vehicle in every way save infotainment interface, but it’s not apparently what consumers want.

        • 0 avatar
          Jeremiah Mckenna

          No, but it is still being sold as a 2018 model. And Lexus listens to it’s customers, even the lesser amount of them. Toyota/Lexus simply produces the amount depending on the amount being bought to account for inventory fluctuations.

          • 0 avatar
            Lichtronamo

            The report has been that when the new ES debuts (which is supposed to be more aggressive like the new Camry), Toyota will consolidate the ES/GS lines as their mid-size sedans. The GS-F got a good review from JC on Grand Tour, but it’s clearly the outlier in the sport sedan category behind the 5-Series, E-Class, and A6.

        • 0 avatar
          Manic

          5-series is fresh and that Lexus grille is not really what most people want. More aggressive design will help, they say at Lexus? Good luck with that. That’s not what sells in NA&EU.

        • 0 avatar
          Pete Zaitcev

          I think price is killing the GS. I looked at it. The infotainment was the same junk Lexus puts into everything, I could not stand it, but fortunately it can be kept off. It has physical buttons for HVAC (or had — they probably made it worse in 2018, the idiots). Most importantly, it has the headroom that IS lacks. But boy, is that thing expensive, comparatively speaking. The cheapest version was close to $60k, and for what?

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            It’s priced more or less in line with the Germans here, but that apparently is still too much for this segment.

      • 0 avatar
        notwhoithink

        “Ford is continuing the Fiesta, Flex and C-Max for 2018, and they are the ones stating the end of the Fusion.”

        They’re not actually stating the end of the Fusion. There was a news report that cited unnamed Ford sources that claimed that production of the Fusion/Mondeo was shifting from Hemosillo/Valencia to China, and a Ford official later stated (via Twitter) that they would not export the Fusion/Mondeo from China to NA/EU but would announce plans for it later. Lots of people have taken that to mean that the Fusion is going to die in 2020, but given the imprecision of only having 140 characters he could have just as easily been trying to defuse concerns about importing cars to the US from China.

        • 0 avatar
          Jeremiah Mckenna

          That would be the same as the Ford Taurus that is built in China and sold in Asian markets, but not North America, while the Taurus is still being built in Chicago. Makes logistical sense to me.

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        “MKT/FLEX are on the same platform, and won’t go until the Flex does.”

        The MKT is 1% (sometimes 2%) of the Oakville production mix they can kill it and keep the Flex–just like they did with the MKS and Taurus.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Lots of misinformation in your post. But, anyone who believes modern Nissans are good cars must be taken with a grain of salt.

      • 0 avatar
        scott25

        The question is what will die in 2018/2018 will be its last year of production. It’s already been announced the CMax is ending production in the middle of this year and insinuated the Fiesta will do the same. I forgot about the Taurus but it’s semi-important for fleets.

        I mentioned the Legacy and not the 6 because the 6 is an important car for Mazda’s image, the Legacy is not in the same way for Subaru. Most Subaru customers probably forget the Legacy exists until they enter the dealership.

        The Lexus GS is beloved by enthusiasts but is completely pointless on the market when the ES is in the same segment by normal people’s standards.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Since the Taurus rolls off the same line as the current Explorer the Taurus will die when the Explorer moves to its new platform. The Aviator version should more than make up for the lost Taurus volume.

          The other hint that the Taurus is going away before the Fusion is that they have released Police versions of the Fusion. First it was a Responder level Hybrid and more recently a Pursuit rated Hybrid. Not a stretch to see them offering standard ICE versions including one using the Sport’s EcoBoost and AWD.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        This is a question about which car nameplates will have 2018 as their last model year.

        The C-Max will die and soon, the documents I’ve seen say the order form closes for them on Jan 18th, about 6 months before they normally cut off orders. So it’s life will end mid year. I bet the Focus made in the same plant goes away at the end of the year as well, though it might make a partial 2019 MY appearance.

        Ford does not need to keep making the C-Max to recoup money paid Toyota. The only paying of Toyota concerning Hybrids was when they had their Asin subsidiary produce their first two generations of E-CVT. That design was a big leap over what Toyota had at the time and was designed by Ford and Asin engineers. The current C-Max has a n e-CVT fully and completely designed and built by Ford, which is shared with the Fusion. Toyota has finally caught up with Ford and is using the Ford e-CVT architecture in the Prius.

        Fiesta likely won’t make a 2019 MY unless there is a dramatic increase in fuel prices and a corresponding rise in interest in sub-compact cars.

        The MKT will die to make room for the Aviator if they do make 2019’s it will likely be a short run of the MK-T most likely the Town Car version only as the Aviator is expected in early 2019. They have said they may continue the Flex until 2020 as long as sales in California stay at similar levels but 2019 might be its last year.

      • 0 avatar
        Manic

        – The BMW 5-series GT is very ugly and old. There’s now new 5 so the GT will be difficult to sell, the few pot. buyers could get X4 or X5 instead, or 6-series GT which is modern version of that same idea.
        – As for 3-series GT, which is IMHO also ugly, buyers could be sent to 4-series Gran Coupe, which is basically that same thing, but better looking and also an newer car.

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      You might add Mazda6 to this list. Sales of the 6 are well below the already listed Legacy. The addition of a turbo 2.5 is the last gasp for this model in the US market before Mazda swallows their pride and admits defeat.

      • 0 avatar
        notwhoithink

        Maybe one day, but not in 2018. They’re finally adding a turbo to it and solving the biggest problem that the car has had since the 2014 debut. We’ll finally be able to call it a premium sport sedan.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          That may have been the biggest problem from an enthusiast’s point of view, but the market was not rejecting the 6 due to lack of power. The base 4-cylinders are the majority of sales in this segment and the 6 was already one of the quickest and thriftiest.

          This car has other huge problems from the consumer’s viewpoint, so if Mazda’s goal is to significantly boost sales of the 6 it needs to figure out what they are.

          “Premium sport sedan” may be a bit ambitious even with the turbo. It’s a FWD family sedan starting in the low-20s.

          • 0 avatar
            notwhoithink

            “This car has other huge problems from the consumer’s viewpoint,”

            Such as? The only consistent complaints I’ve heard about them are the lack of power and the road noise. Noise levels have gotten better with better sound proofing every year, and now they’re fixing the power problem.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            “Such as?”

            Who knows. Brand recognition, dealer network, marketing, lease rates, etc. Dunno. I liked the 6 a lot despite just a few suboptimal utilitarian aspects from the parent’s point of view, but those faults are also shared by several other far-better selling models.

            Something’s not working for mainstream buyers, though, and it isn’t the engine. Enthusiasts rejecting it for a V6 Accord amount to a rounding error in this segment, so unless a lot of 330i and A4 customers are cross shopping the mazda and rejecting it due to horsepower, I don’t see how the 2.5 turbo is going to do much.

          • 0 avatar
            George B

            30-mile fetch, the problem with the Mazda6 is that it has trouble competing in both the size vs. price market of family sedans and the performance vs. price market for “sport” sedans. Hard to quickly make the interior bigger and being manufactured in Japan makes it hard to drop the price for the family sedan market. They finally did the one thing they could do and added a turbocharged engine to improve the performance vs. price value.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        I don’t say Mazda will not scratch ‘6 in US but on another side, they don’t have much investment into selling it. It is made in Japan and sold elsewhere as well. For example, in Australia Mazda is second biggest brand after Toyota. Hopefully turbo engine will give enough incentives to buy it here.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        I think the real issue with the Mazda 6 are lease rates. The rest of the car is probably just as good as any other mid sizer. But many other mfrs can bang out some very attractive lease programs compared to Mazda.

        • 0 avatar
          NJRide

          Mazdas dealer network is a big problem. Here in urban North Jersey the closest dealers are a good half hour away. The closest one is below the levels of nicer independent used car dealers and their service is even worse. (No loaners until a problem is fully diagnosed, really?) So if the company wants to grow (especially partnering with Toyota) they need new and better located franchises.

  • avatar
    Jeremiah Mckenna

    One more thing, lets ask the manufacturers to stop making cars bigger every time there is BMW 318i. It was the perfect size, but started to creep ever so bigger as time went by. Then what did they do? They brought out a 1 series which was the same size as the older 3 series. Mitsubishi did it with their Ecplipse as well as a lot of other sport/sporty cars that are supposed to be smaller, lighter, more nimble. I understand if it is done to a sedan, but not sports cars. Even Nissan, Toyota, Honda has done it. The Honda Civic was a nice sized sub-compact car and has become more and more bloated over the years, and it almost the same size as the Accord so they had to introduce the Fit a few years ago, and now the Accord is a full sized sedan instead of a mid sized or compact sedan. The Toyota RAV-4 also grew too big and now Toyota had to come out with the CH-R to stay competitive in the sub-compact SUV market. The Toyota Camry is as big as the Avalon was just a few years ago, and the Highlander is now bigger than the 4Runner.

    The list goes on, and I have heard the manufacturer reps tell us that the people want this. When I tell them that there are a ton of people that don’t, and if they do, move to vehicles that are designed to be larger, their comeback is that people don’t want to pay more when they more to larger vehicles. So I tell them they are full of B.S. because as the vehicles grow larger, so do the price tags.

    • 0 avatar
      zamoti

      Though this may sound strange, blame child car seats.

      When my sons were small, we had a Volvo 960 wagon. Not a huge car, but generous enough inside. Add a rear-facing baby seat and now the front passenger has their knees against the glove box door. We upgraded to an 07 CX9; big chunky 3-row, there’s plenty of room, yes? Had a 3rd son and got him a newer safer car seat. Same problem, front passenger has their nose up against the glass and they’re sitting bolt upright. We have a Navigator L now. Boys are out of the seats, but we had my niece who is 2 in for a visit. She’s rear facing and, yet again, that GD MONSTROUS car seat eats up all the GD room! I’m all for keeping kids safe but FFS why are these seats so HUGE?! Most are plastic and seem to build strength through thickness. There are a few with metal frames, but they’re not the norm and they’re darn expensive.
      Put some kids car seats on a diet and maybe that’ll be a start.

  • avatar
    dwford

    I don’t see Ford axing the Fusion. No manufacturer walks away from 200k sales a year. The Fusion is at the end of its lifecycle for this generation, so it is natural that sales are down. For the next generation Ford should bring the hatch and the wagon body styles.

    Ford Ford, the Taurus seems dead, the C-Max is going away, the Fiesta is gone.

    GM needs to combine the Malibu and Impala. They are basically the same at this point. Same for Nissan with the Altima and Maxima.

    Toyota is bound to consolidate at the lower end – no need for the iA and the Yaris, and the Lexus GS is primed to go.

    Here is one option for bringing a sedan back to the market: the Hyundai Azera. The current model has been discontinued, but there is a new generation Azera in South Korea, and with Genesis moving out of the Hyundai showrooms, all those Hyundai dealers will have no upmarket sedan to sell.

    • 0 avatar
      oldguy

      Yes, Ford has done it before. Escort. Prior to the killing, a person in Ford management related he was having trouble understanding, as they were basically walking away from a segment of buyers at the lower end. Didn’t matter, he was told, as focus on truck sales were ‘driving the bus’.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeremiah Mckenna

      You don’t see Ford axing a best selling sedan? Look back at their history with the Escort and another best selling car in it’s class, the Taurus.

      • 0 avatar
        gomez

        Except Ford didn’t axe those cars, just their names. The Escort was directly replaced by the Focus and the Taurus was replaced by the Five Hundred. We can argue whether changing names was a good idea (Escort – yes, Taurus – no), but Ford didn’t walk away from the segments. BTW, the Taurus was far from being the best-selling car in it’s class when it was axed the first time.

        • 0 avatar
          scott25

          The Taurus was more replaced by the Fusion than the 500, but the 500 is what maintained the image the Taurus had at the end of its first life, and they still walked away from the name recognition.

          And yes, like everyone else says, the Focus was specifically designed as a world car to replace the various Escorts on sale around the world.

        • 0 avatar
          Jeremiah Mckenna

          The 500 was a completely different car. I was selling Fords then, I know. I also saw the reactions to the customers as they walked away.

          Not too far from being the best selling sedan? Toyota only had them by a few cars in the beginning, but the horrible new design was Ford’s down fall.

          The Focus was also a completely new car, not just a name change. It was also being sold next to the Escort from 1999/2000 until 2004 when the Escort was axed in North America.

          • 0 avatar

            “Toyota only had them by a few cars in the beginning, but the horrible new design was Ford’s down fall”

            DN101 Taurus continued to be best selling car in USA in 1996 but only because of fleet sales. In 1997 Camry took over Taurus as a best selling car. Issue was not only design (Ford introduced extreme bio-design when market already started to move away from that design concept). The real problem though was that Taurus was the response to over-engineered ’92 Camry when ’97 Camry was decontented cheapened redesign and sold for less beating Taurus on price. And Ford did not catch up with engines -Taurus offered as a base engine ancient OHV “Vulcan” which was inferior to any Japanese I4 and optional 3L DOHC Duratec which was modern but still was behind V6 engines from Toyota and Honda. So Ford could not compete because of higher price and next year Ford started to decontent Taurus eventually relegating it to fleets. But still they sold about 400K cars a year if including Sable.

        • 0 avatar
          Peter Gazis

          For 20 years the Taurus was Fords midsized car. Until it was replaced by the Fusion.

          The Ford LTD became the 500 which latter became the Taurus.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        @Jeremiah
        Dude…just stop. The Escort wasn’t discontinued without a replacement. The Focus replaced it and sold better, making Ford a real contender in that segment for the first time in years.

        The Fusion took the Taurus’ place as a midsize car and is quite successful, despite what you want to believe. Ford killed the old Taurus after a short run for the 2007 model year. It hadn’t been the best selling car since the 1996 model year, a full decade before it was axed.

        • 0 avatar
          Jeremiah Mckenna

          I didn’t say the Escort was discontinued without a replacement. I said it was a best seller and it was axed. It was pushed out by the Focus, instead of transitioned. There is a huge difference.

          The Fusion did not take the Taurus’ place, the Ford 500 did since the Fusion was smaller at that time. Not to mention that they had both the Taurus and Fusion on the lots at the same time.

          And yes, it was the best selling sedan in it’s class in the 199’s, but it was still Fords best selling sedan when the name was dropped, and they decided to go for sales of the SUV’s.

          • 0 avatar
            gomez

            Transitioned, replaced…no difference. Just because Ford kept the stale Escort around for a few years when the Focus came out doesn’t mean that the Focus wasn’t the replacement for the Escort in that segment. Ford, GM, and Nissan all seem to be in the habit of selling the previous-gen models concurrently with their replacements.

            And just because the Escort was a best-seller at some point in its history, doesn’t mean it was a name worth saving. By the end of the 90s, “escort” was a term more associated with prostitution than a crappy compact car. Neither connotation meant that it was a name worth saving.

            At this point, if Ford decided to merge the Fusion and Taurus into a single model, I’d expect the Fusion name to stick around. Right now, the Fusion has more name recognition, especially among younger consumers.

          • 0 avatar

            @Jeremiah Mckenna: I agree with you. I remember there were rumors back in 2000s that Ford is working on Taurus replacement based on Volvo derived platform (as if it was a good idea considering that Volvo platform itself was ancient).

            Regarding Fusion – it was replacement for Mondeo known in US as Contour and was based on compact Mazda 6. Both Mondeo and Mazda6 as well as European Accord and Avensis were rather longer wheelbase compacts than midsize cars (which were Scorpio, Camry, Legend, Maxima, Mazda 929, Opel Omega).

        • 0 avatar
          NJRide

          The 96 Taurus really misread the market. The Vulcan still being offered at this point but was as bad as GM offering the Iron Duke until the Gulf War. The radio couldnt be replaced in an era before touchscreens. And it was cramped with low quality materials.

    • 0 avatar
      xtoyota

      Azera was a great value but Hyundai never promoted it and dealers never tried to sell them… This was the only larger sedan that older adult could get in and out of easily …. I don’t know of any larger or mid size sedans that are easy to get in and out of….. That’s one of the reasons SUV/CUV are selling well…..BUILD A CAR THAT FAT AMERICAN AND ELDERLY can get in and out of :=)

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        This concept seems to be lost on these deadhead car manufacturers these days. No we now have sport sedans with terrible visibility, rock hard seats and massive center consoles, gun slit trunk openings, low slung rooflines and narrow bodies plus fat price tags.

  • avatar
    raph

    I wouldn’t worry too much about the death of the Fusion. If Ford is smart they will have invested in a modular platform going forward for FWD/AWD sedans, wagons ( for Europe ) and CUVs that way if the crunch hits they won’t be stuck engineering an entirely new platform.

    Given the success most companies have had with that level of modularity it seems silly to keep a dead product around sapping resources or worse yet letting it soldier on and wither on the vine.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeremiah Mckenna

      They have that with the revived Taurus.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      They have such a platform in the works, which will be able to be FWD, RWD or AWD depending on the car/segment. It will likely replace the current Fusion/Mondeo (not to say their names won’t continue, they will), as well as form the basis of the next Explorer, Edge, etc.

  • avatar
    YeOldeMobile

    Have the auto publications written obits for the Fiat 500L yet? Is that still sold in North America?

  • avatar
    geozinger

    I’m not much of a fan of Sergio & Co., but I have to applaud their willingness to make the tough decisions. I’m also amused that other companies are starting to follow FCA’s lead in only building things that make them money. While I was not happy that FCA gave up on smaller cars in the USDM, I can understand why they did so.

    I keep hearing fears about fuel prices rising suddenly again like 2008 and how these mfrs will not have the small cars to cope with that event. Many (if not all of the modern) CUVs and small to mid sized sedans share many components. But with tightening standards on fuel economy for all vehicles, the CUVs can get similar mileage to same-sized sedans. Add a few more 1.5L turbos to the CUV lineups and we’re good to go…

    My kid came home for the holidays, and I spent a fair amount of time in her Ford Escape. I haven’t driven one in quite a while and forgotten that I liked them. As much as I hold up my minivan as a paragon of engineering (at least in theory), there’s something to be said for a vehicle that has chair height seating and good visibility. Not to mention AWD in this cold snap we’re experiencing here in the Upper Midwest. Barring some unforeseen event, I see a long and healthy life for CUVs whether car guys like it or not.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeremiah Mckenna

      Make what sells and dive deep into those models. Honda used to be a stream lined manufacturer as well. Remember, they only had the Civic and Accord both in the DX, EX, LX trims and in a limited amount of colors. Then they added the CR-V (Civic Recreational Vehicle) also in the same trim levels and soon after came the Odyssey and Pilot again in three trim levels. Then they got bold and added in the Ridgeline with a few trim levels.

      Honda and Toyota figured out that people bought more often on their first time at the dealership when they had fewer choices, so they kept it simple. Every car was cookie cutter, no matter which dealership you went to, unless the dealer added on something at their shop. However, the manufacturer made it simple, especially since you could walk through most US manufacturers and find all sorts of options and packages which confused a lot of buyers, or gave them more than they needed or wanted. Simplicity works.

      But now we see that Honda/Toyota has added a lot more models since then, but are still trying to keep the trim levels simple to understand, Base/Extra/Premium.

      I actually like the fact that Chrysler sells basically two vehicles, and Dodge only has a small hand full to choose from. This will, theoretically, allow them to maximize their efforts in these vehicles and make better quality products. Jeep has pretty much always done this.

    • 0 avatar
      sirwired

      “FCA’s lead in only building things that make them money.” “FCA gave up on cars in the USDM”?

      Could you explain why the Fiat brand still exists here? The likelihood that brand has a single profitable model in the US is pretty near zero. There was no reason, other than vanity, to ever return the brand to the US, and even less reason to keep it here.

      • 0 avatar
        Jeremiah Mckenna

        Becaus that is FCA’s “small” car segment since there is only the Chrysler 300 and Dodge has the Challenger and Charger mid-full sized sedans.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        Relaunching of the Fiat brand was (in part) due to the government’s to have some 40 MPG cars available shortly after the acquisition. In many ways, it does make sense to have the Fiat brand available in the US.

        They’re produced in Mexico and with NAFTA importation would be relatively inexpensive and effective. Using US Chrysler assets, certification is achieved and product is ready for market. Let’s see if the rumored return of Peugeot goes so easily.

        I think the initial launch of the brand was a marketing disaster, however. Maybe if they could have traded on the corporate connection with Ferrari more, there might have been some positive notoriety. As it was, Fiat USA aped MINIs marketing (maybe too much), but without some sort of cachet (possibly supplied by Ferrari and not unlike the connection between MINI and BMW) there was no compelling reason to buy a Fiat.

        Since then, many new Jeeps and a couple of discontinued sedans have been based on Fiat platforms and the two companies are intertwined. Fiat may be playing long ball, trying to last long enough to make it stick. I hope they do. We need more diversity in our market.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Whatever FCA does but their 1.4L minuscule Renegade has much worse MPGs than 1.5 CR-V

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        I think that has much more to do with the blocky design of the Renegade and less with the motor.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          After some research: CRV-0.31, Renegade-0.35
          Now, this
          “For a full-size truck, a change in drag coefficient of 0.01 is approximately equal to an improvement in fuel economy of 0.1 mpg on the combined city/highway driving cycle,”

          So, we’re talking about 1mpg max. The cross section of Renegade is much smaller than full size truck.

          But Renegade widely reported as using way more fuel than EPA statement. While bigger CRV is on or better than EPA statement.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Fusion, Mazda 6, and anything Mitsu still produces. Also, any Mini that’s big enough to stow an original Mini.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Mitsubishi has had 5 consecutive years of growth in the US market. *Somebody* is buying their stuff.

      • 0 avatar
        Jeremiah Mckenna

        Growth is a good thing, but when you look at their numbers, their growth isn’t all that good. I’d say that realistically they are holding their nose just above water. With the exception of three months over the last two years(March 16, February 17 and March 17) they are pretty much stagnant, slow growth numbers at best.

        5 years of slow growth isn’t enough when you compare 20 years of downward spiral.

        http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2012/10/mitsubishi-brand-sales-figures-usa-canada/

      • 0 avatar
        Sub-600

        The iMev or whatever it was called is gone, the Lancer is gone. I think all they have left is the two SUV’s, I can’t even think of the name, there’s a big one and a small one.

      • 0 avatar
        gomez

        Mitsubishi is selling garbage to people that can’t afford anything better. I wouldn’t be surprised if most of their buyers are deeply subprime. That was their target audience a decade ago and it nearly bankrupted them.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        Giving away their outdated CUV’s at fire sale prices helps.

  • avatar
    ra_pro

    Lexus has to go back to its roots. Design better (better-looking and better-driving) cars and sell them for 2/3 of what the competition charges. Their cars are not exciting, the 400 is stale right on par with 300 except 3 times more expensive. I think Lexus is living of its reputation gained in the first 5-10 years of its existence.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeremiah Mckenna

      Yes, Lexus has definitely gotten a lot more expensive than they were when they first took a Toyota Camry and added leather, alloy wheels and a moon roof and changed the grill. However, they have also come a long way since then when it comes to comfort, and reliability compared to the Euro brands is still a lot higher. So you get what you pay for.

      As for the looks, we all know that beauty is in the eye of the buyer.

  • avatar
    Middle-Aged Miata Man

    It’s jarring to see a photo of your own car when opening an article about which models won’t see the end of 2018… but I agree the Cadenza is a good candidate. Kia doesn’t even show any 2018 models on its website.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeremiah Mckenna

      That is a good question. They just upgraded it, but that doesn’t mean a lot to Hyundai/KIA. If sales are low on a vehicle, they will stop shipping it to that area and focus on hot selling models

      • 0 avatar
        Middle-Aged Miata Man

        Cars.com presently shows 1,726 new Cadenzas for sale across the U.S.

        Of those, 10 are unsold 2015 models and 35 are 2016s.

        Just… ouch.

        • 0 avatar
          Middle-Aged Miata Man

          Of course, U.S. sales matter less than they used to (hello, Buick and Cadillac) and the Cadenza/K7 remains popular in its home market.

        • 0 avatar
          Jeremiah Mckenna

          Yeah, I remember selling a brand new, 2004 Hyundai GX350 in 2006. Hyundai/Kia have a long shelf life…

          • 0 avatar
            Middle-Aged Miata Man

            Especially on the higher end, which remains difficult territory for HyunKia although the cars themselves are infinitely better now than in the dark days of the XG350 and Amanti.

  • avatar
    Jeremiah Mckenna

    l

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    The report has been that when the new ES debuts (which is supposed to be more aggressive like the new Camry), Toyota will consolidate the ES/GS lines as their mid-size sedans. The GS-F got a good review from JC on Grand Tour, but it’s clearly the outlier in the sport sedan category behind the 5-Series, E-Class, and A6.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      How do they consolidate FWD and RWD cars?

      • 0 avatar
        Lichtronamo

        “Consolidate” as sell one mid-size sedan where there are currently two products offered. The ES could offer AWD to provide a more of performance orientation for it’s FWD platform.

        As a side note, here in the upper mid-west, almost all the luxury sedans you see from BMW or M-B are AWD.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          No, AWD is not possible on ES because that is a Camry. And Toyota will not change “great success” formula for ES.

          And not only upper mid-west is enjoying luxury sedans with AWD. Go to any dealer in PA and you will find maximum one RWD sedan. All others will be AWD. You need to go down to VA to get RWD. Or order.

          • 0 avatar
            Lichtronamo

            The Toyota New Global Architecture can support FWD and AWD. Just because it isn’t offered on Camry, doesn’t mean it won’t be on ES (or even Avalon) as a means to distinguish it from its platform mate and b consistent with other products in the mid-size luxury sedan segment.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          In fact it is reported that Avalon will use TNGA but nothing about them having AWD. But unless Toyota wants to increase cost of making ES and Camry, these 2 will share same parts. It means that ES has to move to new platform as Camry done already, but does it man that ES will offer AWD? This is questionable. It is much more cost effective to upgrade panels and materials than engineer AWD components and corresponding software and supporting parts.

  • avatar
    I_like_stuff

    Ford and GM should stop making cars and become purely truck/suv companies.

  • avatar
    I_like_stuff

    Ford and GM should stop making cars and become purely truck/suv companies.

  • avatar
    lon888

    We might already have a winner in the U.S. – there is no Audi A8 for 2018. The Euro market still has it though and it is very, very nice.

  • avatar

    Let’s say the Fusion does get the ax (not probable, but…). What sticker would the Ford NASCAR teams put on their cars?

  • avatar
    gomez

    The Buick Regal is a zombie even though it is brand new for 2018. It is in a declining segment and is made in Germany so they can’t discount it too much without losing money. It is made by Opel, which is no longer owned by GM so there is little incentive to keep it if the financial picture doesn’t make sense. Even the TourX model is unlikely to succeed…in the butched-up wagon market, only Subaru seems to be having success.

  • avatar
    PandaBear

    Oh that’s easy, any vehicles with volume so low they are not making much profits at all.

    And those in Mexico that Trumps want to move back to the US: they’ll probably just get orphaned.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    The Ford C-Max will the the first casualty of 2019 as the information I’ve seen says the order cutoff is 1-18-18. The Energi version already died at the end of 2018 MY.

    I don’t think the Fiesta will make it past 2018.

  • avatar

    Cadillac or Buick.

    Pick one – stop cannibalizing yourself among the old people.

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Gazis

      Cadillac is not going away.

      GM should combine Buick with GMC and call the combined brand Buick/GMC. It would instantly become the 7th best selling brand in the U.S.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Ford’s going to get rid of the Fusion?

    Sure they will…along with the 200,000 annual sales it represents.

    Right.

  • avatar
    alfaromeo

    Nobody mentions KIA K900? Or is it already dead?

  • avatar
    warrant242

    What’s a Trax?

    I’m serious. I can’t recall ever noticing one.

  • avatar
    Nedmundo

    I’m afraid the Acura ILX might disappear. I’ve been hoping for a 2G ILX on the new Civic platform with the Accord’s 2.0T and SH-AWD, but now that the Civic has been on the road for a couple of years and we’ve heard positively nothing about a new ILX, it could be on its way out.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    “Who Will Be First Against the Wall?”

    Anything domestic that isn’t a pickup and/or pickup based and/or running a V8!

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    If anything, the Fiesta and Focus would disappear before the Fusion; they can’t possibly be profitable.

    I agree with you about the Cadenza. Few know it exists, and fewer know about its recent redesign.

    I also think Toyota will kill the Yaris and the GS.

    I could see VW not doing another Passat, and just having one “tweener” model in the new Jetta, which is allegedly a lot roomier than the outgoing one. VW may also kill off the Golf SportWagen and just have the Golf Alltrack for wagon duty.

    Speaking of wagons, I bet this is the last 3 Series wagon we get.

    The future of the V60, here in NA, is also up in the air. Volvo may or may not leave it alone.

    It’s a ways off, but I agree with those speculating that GM may axe the Volt, since the market is going to crossovers, or replace it with a crossover-based plug-in hybrid. If they eventually offer plug-in and hybrid versions of everything, a dedicated-purpose car like the Volt may not he necessary, anyway.

    The Cascada, which is in the same market as slow-sellers like the Beetle Cabriolet and MINI Convertible, is likely dead in the water.

    There probably isn’t going to be another Nissan Z car.

    Mitsubishi won’t get rid of the Lancer, but should.

    The RLX was just refreshed, but even within its market of pseudo-flagships (Continental, S90, CT6, Q70L), it is completely underwhelming. I bet after this one, Acura will hang up its hat on the executive sedan market and focus on cramming another couple of SUVs into its lineup.

    The SLC-Class (formerly SLK-Class) is about done for.

    Cadillac needs to kill off the ATS. They probably will, but not for another couple of years.

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