Vehicles that will be killed this year
In the auto industry, business is booming for the undertaker. Automakers are killing vehicle models at a steady clip largely because buyer preferences are changing.
It's all part of a sweeping shift into SUVs and crossovers, which offer more space, a higher stance, and fuel economy that is vastly better than a decade ago. About one in two vehicles sold in 2019 will be SUVs or crossovers, according to projections by car-buying advice site Edmunds.
"Primarily, it's a shift away from passenger cars - compacts, hatchbacks, those types of vehicles," said Matt DeLorenzo, senior managing editor of Kelley Blue Book.
Several vehicles that are being put out of their misery are hybrids of some form, which Americans have been reluctant to buy with gasolene below US$3 per gallon since 2014.
Discontinuing vehicles is not something the automakers do lightly, in part because they have invested substantial time and money into marketing and developing those models.
Take the Volkswagen Beetle, for example. It's an iconic brand with seven decades of name recognition and an iconic silhouette.
But the 2019 model will be the final one. At least for a while.
If there's one thing to remember about the auto industry, it is that goodbye isn't necessarily forever. After all, in 2019, Ford will revive the Ranger pickup, Toyota will revive the Supra sports car, and Honda will bring back the Passport SUV.
As we welcome back those vehicles, we're waving goodbye to these:
This is not the first time Ford decided to end production of this large sedan. But it could be the last. Large cars are falling out of favour. At one point, the Taurus was one of the most popular cars in America. Those days are long gone.
This compact sedan perished as Ford pivots its focus towards SUVs and pickups. Ford had only 12,000 Focus cars left as of early December. Get it while you still can.
Like the Taurus, this large sedan once occupied prime real estate in the American automotive landscape. Despite a critically acclaimed redesign earlier this decade, it couldn't overcome the sedan segment's demise.
GM bet big on this compact sedan earlier this decade, and it paid off for a while. But sales have suffered during the SUV boom. Its demise has placed GM's plant in Lordstown, Ohio, at serious risk of closing.
Billed as an emblem of GM's engineering prowess and pivot towards alternative propulsion vehicles, this vehicle essentially invented the concept of the plug-in hybrid. It was critically acclaimed and generated a loyal base of enthusiasts.
But sales never reached initial expectations, and GM is turning its attention to battery-powered cars that don't have a backup gas generator like the Volt.
Volkswagen will continue to sell this model in foreign markets but not in the US. Here, it's now selling the Atlas large SUV and the Tiguan crossover, with plans to introduce more SUVs.
This two-door car has one of the most iconic silhouettes in the auto industry. But Americans don't want to hunch over to get into cars anymore.
This attempt at a luxury sedan never panned out. The Korean automaker pivoted its luxury efforts towards an altogether new brand called Genesis, which is struggling to gain sales traction.
This compact hybrid had bad timing, entering the market just as hybrid sales were falling off a cliff.
This model, which was offered in hybrid and plug-in versions, had a strong run out of the gate but eventually fell prey to the same industry trends that undermined the CR-Z.
Toyota Prius V
This large version of the Prius hybrid hasn't been manufactured since the 2017 model-year, but it is still registering sales, according to Edmunds.
Nissan's quirky subcompact crossover has given way to a new little crossover called the Nissan Kicks.
Cadillac CT6 and XTS
These large luxury sedans were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Luxury buyers with this much money to spend and a desire for space are buying SUVs.
This compact luxury sedan was designed as a competitor to industry stalwarts such as the BMW 3-series. It couldn't overcome the Cadillac brand's struggles and the compact sedan segment's implosion.
Note: This list includes vehicles that have recently ended production or are poised to end production in the coming months. The list, which does not include every discontinued vehicle, is based on research by IHS, Edmunds, Kelley Blue Book, USA TODAY, and the Detroit Free Press. Some vehicles may be available on dealer lots beyond 2019.