Every year, automakers need to look at what they’re offering and what the market wants, and if necessary, some adjustments might be in order. Since you can’t please all the people all of the time, some decisions to cancel vehicles might not sit well with die-hard fanatics of specific models, but that’s the way it works.
Recently, automakers have not been shy about slicing and dicing their way through lineups, and that trend will continue as we see 2019 draw to a close. Some cars are being axed in favor of electrified future variants, while others are just being canned because they don’t sell well.
Audi A3 Cabriolet
Convertibles are slowly disappearing over at Audi. In addition to losing the TT we discuss below, the A3 Cabriolet won’t live beyond the 2019 model year, either. The fixed-roof A3 will continue to live on as Audi’s most affordable sedan in the US, though.
The A3 Cabriolet offered outputs of either 184 or 228 horsepower, with a starting price just under $40,000 before destination. Once the TT and A3 Cabriolet are gone, the cheapest Audi drop-top will be the A5 Cabriolet. While it’s more expensive, it also has a higher take rate, so I wouldn’t be too concerned about that one biting the dust.
Audi TT (for now?)
Audi first announced the death of the TT during a conference call in May. This diminutive sports car can be had in normal form, in addition to hotter TTS and TT RS forms. The car recently received a midcycle refresh, but that clearly wasn’t enough to add a few more years to its lifespan.
Don’t fret, though. Audi will reenter this segment in the future with an all-electric car around the same price point. We don’t know anything beyond that, and while it’s possible the electric successor might regain the TT name, it’s not guaranteed.
BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo
This past March, BMW announced that it would pare back parts of its lineup to “reduce portfolio complexity” as the automaker turns to focus on electrification. At the time, one of the models mentioned was the 3 Series Gran Turismo, a half-wagon, half-sedan concoction that always looked a little homely.
Despite selling well, the 3 Series Gran Turismo has plenty of stablemates that offer similar experiences. If you’re looking for more space than the standard 3 Series provides, there’s always the X3 or X4 SUVs, which will likely exist for years to come.
BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo, Gran Coupe
The BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo isn’t the only oddball variant of Bimmer to receive the ax this year. Following BMW’s initial announcement, the automaker announced in August that the 6 Series Gran Turismo and Gran Coupe variants would also soon disappear.
SUVs aren’t the only reason these two cars are dying off. BMW has a brand-new 8 Series coming out, which effectively replaces the 6 Series. While the 8 might not have a hatchback-like Gran Turismo variant (consider an X7 if that’s what you’re after), there will be an 8 Series Gran Coupe, with a longer body making way for two extra doors and a host of extra rear-seat space. It’s not on sale yet, but patience is a virtue.
Opel is no longer a part of General Motors, but it still builds cars for ’em, including the Opel-derived Buick Cascada. However, after several years of middling sales, it’s time for Buick’s sole drop-top to fade into the background.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Not only was the Cascada destined to end its current lifecycle in the 2019 model year, but the market has clearly chosen its direction, and that direction is SUVs. Thus, Buick will continue to flesh out its crossover portfolio, which means fun-in-the-sun cars like the Cascada need to go. Maybe Buick will create an Encore Cabriolet, but probably not.
Buick’s biggest sedan might not have much in common with the Cascada, except for the fact that both will disappear before the 2020 model year shows up in full force.
Buick’s full-size premium sedan is available with either a 2.5-liter four-cylinder or a 3.6-liter V6, the LaCrosse was affordably priced, but its luxury fell behind major players in the segment, and with a number of buyers opting for similarly laid-out crossovers like the Buick Enclave, it makes sense that Buick would remove the LaCrosse from its lineup as General Motors attempts to save money by discontinuing unpopular cars.
If you run an airport limousine service, the news of the Cadillac XTS’s death will likely hurt more than other cars on this list, since that’s about the only place I see these large, front-wheel-drive cruisers in operation.
Thus, its impending death (slated for October 2019) makes sense. Cadillac is in the process of revamping its entire lineup, and it will hold onto some sedans like the CT4 and CT5. The CT6 is set to shuffle over the horizon in 2020, which means Cadillac will have a rather large sedan-shaped hole in its lineup. Whether the CT6 and XTS will merge has yet to be seen, but there are plenty of SUV options available, like the upcoming XT6 and the soon-to-be-refreshed Escalade.
Last November, General Motors announced a major shift in its North American vehicle plans. In order to cut costs ahead of future investments in autonomy and electrification, the automaker said it would lay off about 15% of its salaried staff, idle several manufacturing plants and eliminate several vehicles from its lineup, including its compact Cruze sedan.
The Cruze joins the Volt in death, as both cars ended production earlier this year, and soon the Impala will join those ranks. Other GM marques aren’t immune to this slice-and-dice, either, with other vehicles like the Cadillac XTS and Buick LaCrosse getting canceled, too. If you want a compact Chevy, your best bet is now a crossover.
Chevrolet Equinox Diesel (and GMC Terrain Diesel)
Diesels are a hard sell in the United States. Over in Europe, people are more than happy to throw a different kind of fuel in the tank to receive some solid fuel-economy benefits, but it never took hold in the US. It was a bit of a surprise when GM decided to offer diesel engines for the Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain, but now, it appears that exercise has come to an end.
The diesel variants of the Equinox and Terrain will not return for the 2020 model year. An overwhelming majority of buyers clearly opted for the SUVs’ gas engines, and with diesel take rates low, it just wasn’t worth the money to keep bringing the engines back to the US.
Even though General Motors has promised that some of its lineup reductions will save money required for investment in electrification, that doesn’t mean all its currently-electrified vehicles will live to see that day. Case in point, the Chevrolet Volt.
This plucky little plug-in hybrid (or “extended-range electric vehicle,” as Chevy liked to market it) offered some solid efficiency benefits, going so far as to allow engine-off operation for hundreds of miles at a time, so long as the battery stayed topped off. Alas, it fell prey to the same cost-cutting measures as other non-SUV GM vehicles like the Buick LaCrosse and Chevy Cruze. It’s a double shame because the Volt was recently refreshed for the 2019 model year.
The cute-as-pie Fiat 500 reintroduced the Italian brand to the US market almost a decade ago. But following slow sales and no major updates, not to mention consumers’ waining interest in super-small cars, America will bid arrivederci to the 500 at the end of 2019. Yes, that includes the electric 500e and high-performance 500 Abarth models, as well.
Instead, Fiat will continue to sell its homely-as-all-heck 500L and the competitive-ish 500X crossover. The Mazda MX-5 Miata-based 124 Spider sticks around, too, with its turbocharged engine and great driving dynamics.
Ford Fusion Sport
Another day, another sedan destined for discontinuation.
While the Fusion midsize sedan will soldier on until at least 2021, its most hopped-up variant, the Fusion Sport, will not live to see the 2020 model year. This 300-plus-horsepower sport sedan provided the right kind of giggles on back roads, but the writing was on the wall the second the market moved wholesale toward SUVs. With new sporty utility vehicles like the Edge ST and Explorer ST, performance will still factor into Ford’s mass-market vehicles, just not in sedan form.
The Fusion Sport isn’t the only Ford sedan being culled from the lineup this year.
Ford finished producing its full-size Taurus sedan earlier this year. Midsize sedans are a hard sell in this market, and even bigger models have an even harder time producing a good number of sales. While you probably saw most Taurus sedans in some sort of cop-car guise, it was still on sale to the general public, and there was even a hi-po SHO trim available. Thankfully, there are a number of quality competitive crossovers in Ford’s lineup to help fill this hole.
Jaguar XJ (for now?)
The Jaguar XJ has existed in some form since 1968, but that all comes to an end as Jaguar announced it would cease XJ production this year. While more than 120,000 have been built since launch, sales have not been great lately, with most of 2018’s monthly sales barely reaching triple digits.
Not all hope is lost, though. According to reports, Jaguar’s flagship sedan will return in 2020 as a battery-electric sedan, making Jaguar the first automaker to fully electrify its flagship. Here’s hoping the badge comes back.
Nissan 370Z Roadster
The Nissan 370Z has soldiered on for the better part of a decade with only a few notable updates, making it one of the most analog sports cars a person can buy in 2019. Nissan has offered a drop-top variant alongside the coupe, but that’s set to change for the 2020 model year.
When Nissan announced pricing for the 2020 370Z Coupe, the automaker confirmed that the 370Z Roadster will ride off into the sunset at the end of the 2019 model year. Of course, the possibility exists that a next-generation 370Z will once again spawn a convertible version, but that assumes that Nissan will eventually build a next-generation 370Z, a decision on which the automaker is clearly biding its time.
Nissan Rogue Hybrid
The Nissan Rogue Hybrid was a clever little way to save some gas, offering a thriftier way to pilot the automaker’s compact crossover. However, it doesn’t appear Nissan was too happy with how the Rogue Hybrid performed, because it was cancelled before the 2020 model year.
The Rogue Hybrid took the standard Rogue’s 2.5-liter I4 and mated a 30-kW electric motor to it, improving net output to 176 horsepower while simultaneously improve fuel economy to 33 miles per gallon city and 35 mpg highway. Now, though, Nissan will focus on the gas-sipping Rogue, as well as its more efficient (and smaller) sibling, the Rogue Sport.
Nissan Titan Diesel
The Nissan Titan, and its three-quarter-ton XD variant, offer a unique take on the pickup truck market, and its 5.0-liter Cummins turbodiesel V8 is part of that. Alas, the venerable diesel engine will not make a return to the Titan lineup for the 2020 model year.
The Titan’s 5.0-liter Cummins diesel V8 will be discontinued after Dec. 2019, when those variants will cease production. While the diesel may have fallen by the wayside, the Titan itself has not, with Nissan stating that it intends to unveil refreshed versions of the Titan and Titan XD later this year. The diesel may show back up in the future, but it’s anybody’s guess at this juncture.
Smart (the whole lineup)
It’s been a hot minute since an entire automaker has disappeared from the US, with the most notable example being Scion in late 2016. Now, it’s time for Mercedes-Benz’s Smart to do the same.
After selling small numbers of its small cars for quite some time, Smart made the decision to leave the US and Canadian markets. It’ll still live on in Europe, where smaller cars are more accepted. For current owners, Mercedes-Benz dealers will provide service and parts for Smart vehicles for the foreseeable future.
After returning as the New Beetle what felt like 100 years ago, the Volkswagen Beetle has once again finished production. The final example, clad in Denim Blue paint, rolled off the production line in Mexico in July. As of right now, no successor has been announced.
We were given a chance to help out on the line prior to the Beetle’s death, giving us a unique look at a car that’s sold millions of examples over its decades-long existence in various forms. Could it come back on VW’s MEB electric platform as an EV of sorts? It’s certainly possible, as vehicles of all shapes and sizes can utilize this scalable EV architecture, but nothing has been confirmed yet.
Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, SportWagen
With the eighth generation of VW’s venerable Golf just around the corner, the automaker is paring back some of its seventh-generation offerings in the US. While cars like the Golf R will undoubtedly return, it appears two Golf variants will not — Alltrack and SportWagen.
These two station wagons, one a little taller than the other, appear to be dead in the water — at least in the US, where wagons never really took hold like they did in Europe. While it’s possible that the eighth-generation Golf may indeed spawn a station wagon, it’s all but a guarantee that we won’t see any in the US.
Originally published Aug. 29.
Update, Sep. 2: Adds Fiat 500.