Fri | Aug 14, 2020

Cars that will be killed in 2020: Chevrolet, Ford, Fiat vehicles are saying goodbye

Published:Sunday | January 5, 2020 | 12:00 AM

If you didn’t know any better, you might say there’s an infectious disease sweeping through the auto industry, given how many cars are dying.

In a sense, there is. Diagnosis: death by SUV.

The SUV boom is killing off small and large passenger cars in 2019, with vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt and Ford Focus perishing.

In 2020, everything from mass-market models with decades-old nameplates, like the Chevrolet Impala, to recent entrants, like the Fiat 500, are heading for the automotive graveyard.

In many cases, the vehicles have devoted followings – just not enough to keep them alive any longer.

“For 2020, we’re expecting most of the departures to be cars,” said Jeremy Acevedo, manager of industry analysis for car-research site Edmunds. “These are some sentimental departures for the industry.”

Here’s a list of models that are going away in 2020. For the purposes of this list, we’re including vehicles whose demise has been announced but will continue sales into the new year as well as models that could continue to register sales in 2021 as dealers pare inventory.

1. Fiat 500

It wasn’t meant to be.

When the Fiat 500 made its American debut in 2012, the two-door vehicle and its Italian siblings were billed as the saving grace for an American automaker, Chrysler, that had failed to make compelling small cars on its own.

For Fiat, it was “the car that led the charge back to this country after being out of this market for a long time,” said Karl Brauer, executive publisher of Cox Automotive, whose brands include Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader.

But the 500 has fallen short of expectations as Americans grew disinterested in super-small cars. The 500 is going away for the North American market.

The Fiat brand, which is flailing, could follow.

“This could be a harbinger for an entire brand leaving potentially,” Acevedo said. “Right now, it’s such a challenging climate for small cars.”

2. Jaguar XJ

Last redesigned in 2011, the XJ full-size car has been lingering on the market years past its prime.

Large sedans are falling out of favour among luxury buyers, who typically prefer SUVs these days. That meant that the XJ’s days were numbered.

3. Buick Cascada

Like its drop-top counterparts, this convertible didn’t stand much of a chance as the body style falls out of favour.

GM announced it would discontinue the vehicle after the 2019 model year.

4. Lincoln MKC

Lincoln, Ford’s luxury brand, is ditching the alphabet soup naming convention in favour of more memorable nameplates.

That means reviving brands like the Aviator and the Corsair. The latter is the name for the SUV that’s replacing the MKC.

5. Chevrolet Impala

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 full-size car segment’s demise.

One of its only competitors, the Ford Taurus, was also recently discontinued.

“They’re not nearly as affordable as compacts or mid-size cars, and their functionality, being a great people mover, has been taken loud and clear by SUVs,” Brauer said of large cars. By comparison, the Chevrolet Impala ranges in price from $31,620 to $36,720, while the Toyota Corolla compact car ranges in price from $19,600 to $25,550.

6. Cadillac CT6

Similar in size to the Impala, the CT6 doesn’t have much of an audience. Luxury buyers are flocking to SUVs.

The Impala and CT6 were originally set to be discontinued in June, but GM extended production to January 2020 to balance “production timing.”

General Motors was so proud of the CT6 that it selected the vehicle for the first use of its semi-automated highway driving system Super Cruise. That system will outlive the CT6.

7. Toyota Prius C

When Toyota introduced the Prius C at the Detroit auto show in 2012, the outlook for fuel-sipping hybrids was much brighter. Gas prices averaged $3.60 per gallon in 2012, according to AAA.

But with prices averaging less than $3 for the last few years, interest in hybrids has plummeted. The Prius C was the latest casualty after its sibling, the larger Prius V, was also discontinued.

8. Infiniti QX30

This small crossover debuted in 2017 but never clicked with buyers. Though the reality is that Infiniti, as a whole, is struggling. “There’s just confusion about where the brand is,” Brauer said.

The Nissan luxury brand’s US sales in the first 10 months of 2019 were down 17%, compared with a year earlier.

9. Ford Flex

This is a lesson for the auto industry: Not every SUV will be a guaranteed winner.

Ford announced in October that it is killing the Flex after the 2019 model year. That is 11 years after the SUV’s debut.

With its boxy design, the three-row Flex drew a devoted following while provoking snickering from people who disliked the vehicle’s unusual shape.

– TNS