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2019 Chopping Block

26th December 2018

This is the time of year when some automotive publications tell us about all the vehicles that are on the chopping block, that are either done with production or about to be done.

USA Today has just published a list (see this link). In some cases, the list reeks of missed opportunity, where the car in question was a truly good/great car but was in the wrong place at the wrong time or was a victim of gross negligence on the part of its owner/steward.

Their Time was Up
Ford Taurus – Ford lost its way with Taurus when it made it a bigger car in order to use an existing Volvo platform. Classic case of trying to hammer a square peg into that damn round hole. Taurus’s days were numbered for years.

Chevy Impala – similar to the Taurus, but Impala was more just a victim of changing tastes in the market. Customers just aren’t buying cars, especially big cars, anymore.

VW Beetle – the Beetle was a fashion play from the beginning of its resurrection and fashions simply don’t last. I’m surprised it lasted this long, frankly.

Cadillac XTS – see Chevy Impala. Same deal here.

Who Gives a Shit? (or, “They Still Sell That?”)
VW Touareg – this vehicle, from the day it went on sale, violated Marketing 101 by having a name that NOBODY can pronounce. It’s hard to want a product that you can’t say. How do you ask for it? VW has been particularly guilty of this over the years. Full disclosure: I do know how to pronounce it, but it took a lot of practice to get it right.

Hyundai Azera – nobody really wanted a luxury Hyundai, and eventually Hyundai agreed when they introduced their new Genesis brand

Honda CR-Z – I actually liked this car a lot, but I learned a long time ago that my taste is NOT representative of most Americans’. This was a sporty hybrid with an available manual tranny! Yeah, nobody else knew that either.

Nissan Juke – this was the fugliest car since the Pontiac Aztec, and that’s saying a lot. It was quirky just for the sake of being quirky. Never a good idea.

Just a Victim of Circumstance
Ford Focus, Chevy Cruze, Chevy Volt, Ford C-Max, Toyota Prius V – all of these are victims of the trend “You can sell anything in this market, as long as it’s an SUV”. The subtitle of the trend is “If its main reason for being is that it gets good fuel economy, Americans don’t want it!” These are all good/great cars, but with fuel an an inflation-adjusted price of almost zero, Americans have reverted back to “bigger is better, and it better be an SUV”.

Bad Management
Cadillac CT6 & ATS – both of these 2 are truly great/world class cars, and part of their demise is that they are cars (see above). However, there are still plenty of cars out there that are NOT being cancelled, so the fact that Cadillac can’t sell them is more an indictment of Cadillac management than of the cars themselves.

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