Whenever a new model-year gets underway we can expect to see a number of old models go away. That’s as true as ever for 2020, but a close look reveals an unusual pattern this time around: virtually every model on the list is a sedan, coupe, convertible or sports car.
Of the three dozen products on our list of those driving off into the sunset there are only a handful of utility vehicles and, in at least three cases, they’ll simply be replaced by entirely new offerings. That should be no surprise, of course, considering market realities. Once dominant sedans continue to lose ground to CUVs and SUVs.
Here’s a list of the products you won’t see back for 2020, as well as old models getting completely new replacements:
Gone and Soon to be Forgotten:
Audi TT: Back in the 1990s, German automakers grew envious of the success of the little Mazda Miata and rushed to market with their own little sports car. Audi offered both coupe and roadster alternatives of the TT. With sales way down, it’s come to the end of the road, though we may see the TT return, albeit in a fully electric form.
BMW 3-Series Gran Turismo. Like a virus, the Bavarian automaker’s line-up seemed intent on multiplying at a frenetic rate over the past decade. But this product proliferation may be coming to an end. It didn’t help to have models like the 3-Series Gran Turismo that never really found an audience among buyers with its odd, not-quite-SUV body style.
BMW 6-Series and 6-Series Gran Turismo: You can repeat what we just said when it comes to the BMW 6-Series Gran Turismo, one of the most ungainly offerings the marque has come up with in decades. Meanwhile, the rest of the BMW 6-Series has been replaced by its new flagship 8-Series.
BMW Standard Wheelbase 7-Series, 2-Series Convertible, 8-Series Coupe and Convertible, Z4: There have been numerous reports in recent months suggesting the Bavarian marque will continue paring back its line-up to reflect rapidly changing market realities. Some of these seem certain though we question whether BMW would so quickly pull the plug on the just recently launched next-gen Z4.
Buick Cascada: A Buick convertible? Yep, though you might not have known unless you caught the occasional TV commercial the automaker used to try to hawk the Cascada. Beyond poor sales, the ragtop’s fate was largely sealed when parent GM sold off its European operations, as the convertible was merely a rebadged and imported Opel.
Buick LaCrosse: GM’s “premium” brand continues to struggle and that means right-sizing its product line-up. In today’s market, that means shifting focus to SUVs like the Enclave and Envision, while culling once-popular, but now nearly invisible, sedans like the LaCrosse.
Cadillac CT6: Put an asterisk by Caddy’s flagship model. The CT6 never quite lived up to its billing, the sedan not quite as big, nor as lavish, as Euro competitors such as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class or BMW 7-Series. The automaker indicated it would go out of production when it closed a Michigan plant. But it has extended operations there and may yet keep the Cadillac CT6 around for a while.
Cadillac XTS: A misfit from the beginning, the XTS shared its underlying, front-wheel-drive platform with other General Motors brands and never fit in at Caddy, which had otherwise opted to go completely rear-drive. Though the sedan had a small but loyal retail fan base, the XTS was largely relegated to fleet markets.
Chevrolet Cruze: You’ll still find a handful of these compact sedans at Chevy showrooms, but the Cruze was one of the first models culled as part of a blood-letting announced by GM last November that called for closing three North American assembly plants, including the Lordstown, Ohio facility building the Cruze. Like key, mainstream rivals, Chevrolet is shifting focus to utility vehicles like Equinox and Trax.
Chevrolet Impala: The bowtie brand won raves for the complete makeover of its familiar, full-size sedan. But at a time when millions of buyers have been shifting to SUVs and CUVs, the market barely noticed. The big four-door will last only partway through the 2020 model-year, with production currently set to wrap up in January. That could change as part of a settlement between GM and the UAW that might extend the life of the Impala plant.
Chevrolet Volt: The world’s first mainstream plug-in hybrid was a revolutionary product when introduced nearly a decade ago and was billed as a symbol of parent General Motors’ push into greener technologies. But sales never really met expectations and GM has shifted focus to all-electric offerings like the Chevy Bolt EV. Add the fact that the Volt’s plant is one of the three scheduled to close.
Fiat 500 and 500e: Could there be a Fiat Chrysler without a Fiat? That was a question raised in June 2018 during the automaker’s big analyst meeting in Italy. For now, the classic cinquecento, or 500, as well as the all-electric 500e, are being cast aside. Whether the downsized brand will be able to make a go with only the 500L people-mover and 500x CUV remains to be seen.
Ford Fiesta: Ford has had an on-again, off-again love affair with small cars. It brought the Euro-focused Fiesta back to U.S. shores in 2011, a time when gas prices were soaring to record levels. A couple years later, Ford added the high-performance Fiesta ST to challenge the likes of the Subaru WRX. But with gas cheap and the small car market drying up, It’s abandoning all passenger cars but for the Mustang.
Ford Taurus: While small car sales are all but non-existent these days, demand for full-size sedans haven’t been doing much better, as both the Chevy Impala and Ford Taurus demonstrate. The Blue Oval sedan never really connected with buyers, perhaps because it picked up on the name of a once-popular midsize model that had largely been relegated to fleet markets.
Infiniti QX30: One of the odder models in the Japanese brand’s line-up, this not-quite-a-utility-vehicle was largely designed for the European market and will go away as a result of Infiniti’s decision to abandon its Continental dealer network. Few U.S. shoppers are likely to notice.
Jaguar XJ: For decades, this big sedan represented everything Jaguar stood for. The current model got a dramatic design makeover but never really gained much ground in a segment dominated by the likes of the Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7-Series. So, after a 50-year run, the XJ will go out of production – perhaps just temporarily. The British automaker has signaled it could return in all-electric form soon.
Nissan 370Z Roadster: In a market where sports cars are largely an afterthought, the Z has gone years without a significant update, indeed, even a relatively minor one, at that. Sales barely an asterisk on the charts, the Japanese automaker is simplifying things, with only the coupe to remain in production. The question is: for how long, especially if there’s no major makeover in the next few years.
Nissan Rogue Hybrid: At a time when gas is cheap, it’s hard to make a solid case for a hybrid, especially one that delivers just 5 mpg more than the conventionally powered version of the Nissan Rogue. Don’t worry about that gas version, however. It remains the best-selling model in the entire Nissan line-up.
Smart fortwo and Smart fortwo ED: A complete makeover a few years back was supposed to pump life back into the Smart fortwo. But, with gas cheap, the little car had little to go for considering it wasn’t very peppy, roomy or elegantly styled. Indeed, considering its size, it didn’t even offer great mileage. Smart hoped the all-electric ED would find a niche, but buyers refused to plug in.
Toyota Prius C: Early this decade, Toyota decided it needed a full “family” of Prius models, launching the compact C, larger V, and plug-in Prius Prime. But cheap gas has hammered all of those models, as well as the original Prius hybrid. It didn’t help that the small Prius C received relatively few favorable reviews. The question is whether the Prius V will survive slumping sales.
Volkswagen Beetle: The original “people’s car” defined cool in the 1960s, but two subsequent generations never really grew beyond niche audiences, so, the Beetle has gone extinct. Will VW bring it back again? It’s hoping to regain its hip reputation with new electric vehicles, like the European ID.3, but there’ve been rumors an all-electric Beetle could debut, too.
Volkswagen e-Golf: The imminent demise of the first all-electric model from VW was all but a certainty. Like other first-generation EVs, it offered just limited range at a steep price premium. A limited number of e-Golfs will be available through sometime mid-model-year. Beyond that, battery-car fans will have to hang tight. The automaker just launched the long-range ID.3 electric hatchback in Europe. It won’t come to the U.S. but a new battery-crossover will debut here next spring.
Volkswagen Golf SportWagen and Golf Alltrack: It’s often said that if auto journalists bought more cars, station wagon sales would be thriving. We don’t and wagons simply haven’t regained traction with the public at large, so the two Golf variants are set to vanish. This will be the first time VW doesn’t offer a wagon in its mix since 1965, the automaker shifting to CUVs like the new Atlas Cross Sport, instead.
Out With the Old, In With the New:
Aston Martin Vanquish: This high-performance sports car has long been a fixture in the Aston Martin line-up. And one might have thought it would stick around as the British mark expanded its range of offerings. But fans don’t have to mourn. While it’s not a perfect alternative, the spot vacated by the Vanquish is being filled by Aston’s DBS Superleggera.
Cadillac ATS: Like so many brands, Caddy is shifting focus to SUVs and CUVs, such as the new XT4 and XT6 models. Its once-grand plan to roll out an assortment of high-style sedans, coupes and convertibles has largely been abandoned. But while the ATS vanishes, the brand is replacing it with a new compact offering, the CT4. And, yes, a high-performance CT4-V is definitely in the works.
Ferrari 488: No surprise here. The prancing pony routinely sends old models to the glue factory, adopting new names for its latest-and-greatest offerings. In this case the 488 GTB is being superceded by the Ferrari F8 Tributo.
Hyundai Santa Fe XL: Late to the SUV party, Hyundai tried to cover as many segments as possible for the last several years by offering two different versions of the Santa Fe, including the three-row XL. But it was a “tweener” not quite meeting expectations and has now been replaced by the larger and more luxurious Hyundai Palisade.
Lincoln MKC: The smallest model in the Lincoln line-up tapped into one of the luxury market’s fastest-growing segments. With competition heating up, Ford Motor Co.’s high-line brand has been completely redesigned, the new model getting a distinctive new look and a lot more features. It’s also getting a new name, Corsair, Lincoln finally abandoning its old MK nomenclature.
Lincoln MKT: With its strange, almost hearse-like looks, the MKT never really connected with retail buyers, though it has been popular with limo fleets and, yes, mortuaries. Lincoln has replaced it with an all-new three-row model, the Aviator, that reveals a new design philosophy and adds an array of new high-line features. Lincoln will continue building some MKTs for now, however, for fleet markets.