Some iconic names will die later this year.
Nothing lasts forever, and that’s especially true in the automotive industry. While some nameplates have stood the test of time, others play out their entire existence within the span of a few short years. These are the top 10 cars that died already in 2019, or that will go out of production by the end of the year.
Of course, we are not being comprehensive here, by any means. There are some that we have already mentioned — like GM culling its passenger car lineup, for example — that we aren’t covering again here. Instead, these add to that list, with some surprisingly iconic names biting the dust (at least as we know them now) before we head into the 2020s.
10) Ford Fusion Sport
Technically, the Ford Fusion will still live on through at least 2020, at least according to the company’s most recent plans. However, it is killing off its top-end V6 Sport version, which was the most powerful and expensive Fusion you could buy. Ford is also expanding its ST line into performance crossovers, which cuts into the sedan’s appeal.
With a 325 horsepower 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, this Fusion is certainly no slouch against its sedan competition. However, its $41,655 and up price tag endeared it to few buyers. Moving forward, Ford will instead focus on its ‘core’ models, including the Fusion S, SE, SEL and Titanium.
9) Buick Cascada
When you think about Buick, do you associate the brand with four-seater convertibles? Neither did many buyers, as it turns out, since the Buick Cascada was one of the brand’s slowest-selling models. In 2018, GM moved just 4,136 units.
Compare that against much more popular cars like the Encore crossover, which sold over 93,000 cars in the same time period, and it’s not difficult to see why this car is meeting its maker soon. This, like many other Buick models, is based on an Opel design. Since GM sold the brand to Peugeot in 2017, Buick would have to redesign this model in-house if the company wanted to keep it in production.
8) Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe
Alfa Romeo kicked off its U.S. reboot with this car – the Alfa Romeo 4C coupe. Its attractive styling, mid-engined layout, and its low-weight, low-frills approach wins it brownie points with enthusiasts, but it did not find sales success among the general public.
In 2018, Alfa Romeo managed to move just 238 4C models, down from 407 in 2017. Mind you, they are keeping the 4C Spider in production, but with a much higher $66,900 price tag. This model’s passing does not mean Alfa Romeo is out of the game, though, as they have the relatively successful Giulia sedan and Stelvio crossovers to round out the brand’s lineup.
7) Lincoln MKC
This one is really a death in name only, as the Lincoln MKC will cease production this year. The MKC introduced many to the Lincoln brand as its entry level crossover, made famous by none other than Matthew McConaughey in some delightfully strange commercials.
The crossover market is red hot right now, so Lincoln has no intentions of backing out of the segment. Instead, the all-new Corsair will replace the MKC for the 2020 model year and beyond.
6) Smart ForTwo
“Wait, they still sell those here?”, I hear you ask. The Smart ForTwo has been an electric-only model for the past couple years, but it hasn’t exactly flown off the shelves. From over 21,000 sales when the car first arrived in 2008, Smart sold just 1,276 cars in 2018.
With that rate of attrition, it’s understandable that parent company Daimler AG would pull the plug on the little Smart to focus on its much more lucrative Mercedes-Benz brand in the United States.
5) Volkswagen Beetle
Ah, the Volkswagen Beetle. It’s one of the most successful automotive nameplates in history, and the current A5 Beetle has been around since 2011. The ‘New Beetle’, as it was called back in 1998, was relatively popular throughout its lifespan, but its popularity has waned in recent years.
From a peak of around 43,000 cars in 2013, Volkswagen shifted just 14,411 Beetles in 2018. Slow sales ultimately killed off this generation of Beetle, but there are a few positive points stemming from this car’s demise. Volkswagen is offering a ‘Final Edition’ Beetle for the 2019 model year, for a start. The company also plans a new electric model on its MEB platform to replace it in the coming years.
4) Cadillac CTS and ATS
Again, this is really a case of evolution, rather than the outright demise of the Cadillac CTS and its smaller ATS brother. Both models will go away in name by the end of 2019, but Cadillac is planning to replace them with two next-generation sedans.
Enter the CT5 and CT4, which Cadillac recently unveiled. Both cars will go on sale for the 2020 model year, effectively replacing their older counterparts and joining the CT6 to round out Cadillac’s revamped lineup.
3) Jaguar XJ
Call it old if you want to, but the Jaguar XJ still looks great, even after a decade in production. To be fair, you would be right to call it old fashioned. Against its luxury competition, the Jaguar XJ is falling behind the curve, and its 5.0-liter V8 engine isn’t exactly an eco-friendly powertrain in today’s electrified world.
To that end, the current X351 generation of the Jaguar XJ will soon meet its maker, never to return. At least, that is in its current form. Jaguar has teased at a successor to the beautifully-styled XJ, but this time around we will see an all-electric variant.
2) Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class
The Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class was formerly known as the SLK when Mercedes introduced it back in 1997. In its heyday, the roadster fared well in the market as a less expensive alternative to the top-end SL. The Mercedes-Benz SLC class also faced off against the likes of the Porsche 718 Boxster and the BMW Z4.
Now, though, the SLC has hit the end of its road. Mercedes unveiled a special edition to send this car off, and no direct replacement is planned.
1) Audi TT
Audi first introduced the TT back in 1998, and the company has always sold it as either a 2+2 coupe or a roadster. Now, after two decades and three generations, sales have slowed to a crawl and Audi has officially signed off on the car’s demise.
In its place, we will eventually see an all-electric model, though it may not end up as a direct replacement for Audi’s iconic sports car nameplate.
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