“Let Auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind. Some cars, I fear, will leave next year poor sales or redesign.”
The world will be a very different place in 2017. While a new President settles into the White House, The Fast & Furious 8 hits theaters, and the Chicago Cubs settle into champion status after waiting a while to win the World Series, we’ll be getting an important new crop of cars that should see us well into the next decade. However, some cars will be leaving us. Some of which, bleak reminders of times we’d like to forget. Others, heart-breaking farewells to perennial favorites. To these cars we bid a fond farewell. Love ’em, hate ’em or own ’em, when the ball drops in Times Square, so will they.
VW drops its compact hardtop convertible for 2016 after years of languishing sales in a dwindling market for open-air autos. This leaves the Beetle as the brand’s only convertible.
Not dead yet, but living under a different identity after the demise of the automaker’s youthful Scion division, this low-slung sports coupe will be continuing with a few updates for 2017 as the Toyota 86.
Automakers often drop the names of poor-selling models or ones from which they’d like to distance themselves with a major redesign, and the Lincoln MKS is no exception. The under-achieving large luxury sedan is being dropped for 2017 in favor of the more upscale Continental sedan, and we suspect few shoppers will miss it.
Honda finally pulls the plug on this stylish, but otherwise unpopular small gas/electric hybrid car. While it looked racy, it was never particularly quick nor go-kart nimble, and though its hatchback added a modicum of practicality, it still lacked a pair of rear doors. Pushing it hard tended to negate much of its fuel-saving gains, which weren’t already particularly impressive at 31/38-mpg city/highway.
According to conversations we’ve had with company insiders over the years, the rip-roaring Dodge Viper sports car – while always a favorite of enthusiasts – was never particularly profitable, and has been on life support for years. With fewer than 300 units sold last year its demise was inevitable.
While praised as Dodge’s best small car ever, the compact Dart sedan never caught on with buyers, especially at a time when the market began eschewing small cars for taller crossover SUVs. Ending production after just five years to make way for additional Jeep Cherokee output, there’s a slight chance the Dart could return if FCA finds a third-party manufacturing venue for it or if my words about Mr. Marchionne have any weight.
They tried. What seemed like a good idea at the time, an upscale two-door interpretation of the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric car was never much of an answer to the Tesla Model S sedan. At $75,000 it was expensive, and even with a big price cut, cash rebates and subsequent improvements it found few takers.
The 200 is certainly approaching death’s door more rapidly than first anticipated. From a corporate standpoint, there’s no doubt that FCA’s compact and midsize U.S. market passenger cars are not Mr. Marchionne’s faves. He even kicked the 200 while it was down by publicly declaring its faults, design errors which play a part in Consumer Reports’ anti-recommendation. But dealers still have tens of thousands of Chrysler 200s to sell.
This is a big disappointment to me as axing the Chrysler 200 was. The entry-level Buick sedan will join a congregation of defunct Buicks in Detroit’s vehicular graveyard. It would seem easy enough for the second-generation Verano to make its way over from China, where Buick is GM’s darling brand. In the interests of products that GM believes will produce higher U.S. volumes with superior margins, namely E-badged crossovers, the Verano’s North American days are over.
Yet north of the border, the Verano’s demise is indeed ironic. Just days before Automotive News revealed that GM would end the Verano’s North American run with an abbreviated 2017 model year, GM Canada revealed that Verano sales had risen to an all-time high in April.
BMW 3-series wagon
The Ultimate Driving Machine will not be in wagon form. The internet is awash with reports that the current BMW 3 Series Sport Wagon will be the last iteration of the car imported by BMW USA.
Hyundai Genesis Coupe
Hyundai’s rear-drive sports coupe is dead. The 2016 model year will be its last in the U.S. and Canada. A replacement is expected to follow sometime after 2017, but it won’t carry the Hyundai badge.
Volkswagen Golf GTI 2-door
It’s a sad day for Volkswagen Golf GTI purists and fanboys. The GTI — one of autodom’s quintessential hot hatches — will lose its two-door variant in the U.S. next year as the scandal-rocked automaker jettisons low-volume offerings. With crossovers overtaking family sedans in sales and two-door coupes slowly disappearing from the automotive landscape, it seems practicality truly rules the day.
Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe & Phantom Drophead Coupe
The move makes sense with the smaller, sexier Wraith and Dawn models now on sale. Rolls is also underpinning the next Phantom with smaller, more adaptable architecture. The Phantom sedan is in its last iteration, but will live to see another day.
Although it will survive through 2017, it won’t see much time after that. It’s just as well. Living as the Holden Commodore, Pontiac G8 and the Chevy SS, it just seems like the car that will not die.
Signs of the end were when two six-cylinder versions were offered (topping out at 335 horsepower), along with a turbo-four base model. The market for roadsters is tough, and volumes are small. Which is why the model’s Z5 successor will come via a joint effort with Toyota.
Land Rover LR4
The LR3 first appeared in 2005, a boxy, smooth-sided three-row SUV that replaced Land Rover’s long-running Discovery, meaning that when the new Discovery takes over the LR4’s place in the lineup next year, then this story will have come full circle.
This was not the Jeep for off-road enthusiasts. Cheap pricing and even cheaper lease deals kept the Patriot rolling out of showrooms, but there were few highlights over its 10-year production run. It will survive for a bit longer with a short 2017 model-year run until production finishes up.
I thought it was going to be a sporty-looking, youthful entry in the Subie lineup. It ended up being a car that was easily passed over.
Any and all 2.0 liter Audi or VW’s
In the post-diesel-gate era, it just makes sense.
The entire brand is disappearing. Most models will be absorbed into the Toyota brand, this one will not.