The Last Mile: Cars That Will Be Discontinued For 2020
Sedans and coupes are fast becoming endangered species, as America’s love affair with trucks and sport utility vehicles continues to grow unfettered. Some automakers, particularly Asian brands, are for the most part sticking with their passenger-car lines, while the domestics are winnowing them down considerably.
Dodge and Chrysler were the first brands to dump small and midsize sedans from their lineups, with Ford and General Motors in the process of paring them from their fleets. GM is shedding five separate car lines in the months ahead. Ford is in the process of dumping both large and small cars from its stable, with the midsize Fusion planned to morph into a crossover-like station wagon with its coming redesign.
Here’s a look at the automotive nameplates that won’t be around much longer:
Audi TT. Launched in 1998, the Audi TT was a well-rounded little sporty coupe and convertible, both in terms of its styling and performance. However, Audi is pulling the plug on the current TT line and plans to replace it down the road with a new full-electric model as part of its long-term electrification strategy.
BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo, 6 Series Gran Turismo, and 6 Series Gran Coupe. Sometimes an automaker can slice and dice its product lines only so much before its dealers’ showrooms burst at the seams with model variations. These were all four-door coupe/hatchback variations that didn’t look half as handsome as the models upon which they were based. Neither caught on among U.S. buyers, who’d rather drive a sporty SUV these days than a hatchback.
Buick Cascada. At one time virtually every car line was offered as a convertible, but the genre is now nearly nonexistent. Around since 2016, the Buick Cascada remains a stylish midsize ragtop, but couldn’t find buyers, with only around 2,000 units delivered to customers over the first half of 2019. As a result it’s being discontinued for 2020.
Buick LaCrosse. The large Buick LaCrosse sedan was set to be refreshed for 2020, but the brand decided it would be better off concentrating its efforts on crossover SUVs, so it’s driving off into the proverbial sunset instead. That leaves the Regal as Buick’s only remaining passenger car.
Cadillac CTS. The slow-selling midsize Cadillac CTS will go out of production in January, giving way to the new CT5 sedan.
Cadillac XTS. Introduced for the 2013 model year and replacing Cadillac’s STS and DTS models, the full-size XTS sedan eventually became the odd front-drive sedan (with all-wheel drive optional) in what fast became a rear-drive luxury car lineup. The final XTS will roll off the assembly line in October.
Chevrolet Cruze. Remember when the domestic automakers were going all in on small cars, especially premium-minded models for Baby Boomers who wanted to downsize their rides? Those brands are now betting heavily on trucks and SUVs, with otherwise stalwart rides like the compact Chevrolet Cruze becoming roadkill. As it is, the Cruze had a nice 10-year run, standing up admirably to segment leaders like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.
Chevrolet Impala. Production of Chevrolet’s largest car will cease in January, and even though the Impala is not the brand’s lowest volume model, sales are at a fraction of what they were in the vehicle’s glory days.
Chevrolet Volt. Debuting in 2010, the Chevy Volt seemed like the car of the future. Officially an extended range electric car, it was the first model to feature a small gas engine that would run a generator to power the car’s motor when the onboard battery pack became depleted. The second generation Volt, introduced in 2016, can run for 53 miles before the gas engine kicked in, which for many owners rarely ever happened. Sales have been shrinking, so Chevy is pulingl the plug on the Volt, though we wouldn’t be surprised if the platform eventually sees duty on a future plug-in crossover SUV.
Ford Fiesta. Introduced to help salve skyrocketing gas prices, subcompacts like the Ford Fiesta became superfluous in the U.S. once fuel became cheaper and automakers began rolling out small crossovers like Ford’s own EcoSport. The Fiesta debuted in 2011 as a stylish small sedan/hatchback combo with the hot ST variant coming for 2013 as the line’s performance leader.
Ford Taurus. When the full-size Ford Taurus sedan was introduced for the 1986 model year, it was a groundbreaking vehicle that came wrapped in what was then dramatically rounded styling. The car was briefly renamed as the Five Hundred in 2005-2007 before Ford realized the error of its ways and returned its original nameplate. The Taurus was the best-selling car in the U.S. between 1992 and 1996, though sales have since dropped off dramatically.
Jaguar XJ. The brand’s flagship sedan went out of production this summer after a five-decade run, with a successor to be revealed sometime next year. It may or may not continue with the XJ nameplate, but reports suggest it will go farther upscale and take the full-electric route to compete head-on with the Tesla Model S and the new Porsche Taycan battery-powered sedans. Hybrid gas/electric versions are also expected to be in the mix.
Lincoln MKC. The compact Lincoln MKC crossover SUV will be redesigned and renamed the Corsair for 2020.
Lincoln MKT. The three-row MKT crossover is being shown the door at the end of the 2019 model year. Its slot in Lincoln’s lineup will be filled by the far more stylish and capable Aviator.
Nissan 370Z Roadster. While the coupe version of Nissan’s rather dated sports car will live on for a time, the convertible variants are being axed from the lineup.
Nissan Rogue Hybrid. The compact Nissan Rogue crossover SUV remains the brand’s top-selling vehicle, but apparently the fuel-frugal gas/electric-powered hybrid model wasn’t popular enough for it to remain sustainable.
Smart EQ ForTwo. Coming to U.S. shores for the 2008 model year, the tiny Smart ForTwo two-door, two-seat coupe/convertible seemed like an odd duck from day one. The ForTwo’s sole attribute was the ability to park in the tightest of spaces. Adding an electric version to the line for 2013 didn’t spark sales, and the battery versions became the only Smarts to survive over the last two model years. This is the brand’s official swan song in the U.S.
Toyota Prius C. Toyota’s Yaris-based subcompact Prius C hybrid is being cancelled at the end of the 2019 model year and is being replaced in showrooms by the new 2020 Corolla Hybrid.
Volkswagen Beetle. When Volkswagen revived its most iconic model as the New Beetle for the 1998 model year, it was a genuine head-turner and evoked memories of the iconic original. A second generation debuted for 2012 with less bulbous styling and its name shorted to just Beetle, but by then the thrill had gone away. Now Volkswagen’s lowest-volume model, the iconic Bug is being squashed yet again.
Volkswagen Golf SportWagen and Golf Alltrack. The station wagon versions of the compact Volkswagen Golf four-door hatchback are two more victims of the crossover SUV explosion, being dropped from the model line. That will make 2020 the first year since 1965 in which VW will not offer a wagon.