All of us must face death eventually. That is even true of our best friends, the cars. It’s inevitable and natural. But when the death is indicative of a greater and more depressing trend, then it’s extremely sobering. This year, we saw the death of a lot of sedans. Like, a lot a lot. Here are the cars that died in 2018.
I like sedans. They’re smaller, more manageable and more stylish than their crossover counterparts. I’m sorry to see a lot of them go, but many of these entries just weren’t finding buyers. Someone has to be a loser in capitalism.
2018's car deaths were also accelerated by some big, corporate overhaul decisions, which you’ll read about below. It’s not lost on me that there are very few big crossovers and trucks on this list. Hmmm.
Cadillac ATS Sedan
The Cadillac ATS sedan was a car that I’d always appreciated because it was a delightful BMW 3 Series competitor and, frankly, I’m tired of hearing about the 3 Series. It had nice lines, superb handling and was fun to drive, even in base trim. The V version was a legitimate rocket.
The problem was, though, that it was rather cramped. Even I hit my head on the sill multiple times when climbing in and out of the back seat.
At least the coupe will stay with us, though probably not for long.
Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe
This one I genuinely felt in the gut. Sure, the Spider is sticking around, but what about people like me who like hard tops? What about us? Well, we definitely won’t get another crack at a new 4C Coupe next year, that’s for sure. I guess there’s always the Cayman. I guess.
Anyway, say goodbye to one of the purest, wildest, most intriguing sports cars to come to America in decades. It didn’t even have power steering. This thing owned.
Oh, and just to be clear, the Coupe is being killed off in the U.S. and Canadian markets only. Its life will go on in other markets, for now.
Yes, yes, I know Asimo isn’t a car. But he was a cool little robot boy that Honda would trot out from time to time. And he only got better with age before he finally died earlier this year at a ripe old age of 18. It felt like losing a friend here, almost.
The death of the Juke is more acutely felt when you look at what came after: the Nissan Kicks. At least the Juke was funky, reasonably fun and weird-looking. What is the Kicks? Another bland, compact crossover? Just look at it.
Thank you, next.
(Also: The Juke’s actual death date is unclear, since we listed it as such in 2017's roundup too. But it is now officially and completely dead.)
Ford Focus (and Some Others)
In April, Ford announced that it was phasing out all small cars and sedans in the U.S. except for the Mustang and the Focus Active, a mini crossover. Which meant that cars like the regular Focus would be axed. Others slated for cancellation in 2019 are the Taurus, Fusion, C-Max and Fiesta.
But then! Because of Donald Trump’s tariffs, the automaker said in August that it won’t sell in the Focus Active in the U.S. market after all and cemented the death of the Focus nameplate here.
That just leaves us the trucks, the big crossovers and the Mustang.
Volkswagen’s original Beetle was loved by many because of its affordability, simplicity, air-cooled noise and pluckiness. The last Beetle was basically a Golf underneath, heavy, compromised and front-wheel drive. It was pretty mundane.
Volkswagen will make one final push with the Final Edition for the 2019 model year and cease production of the new Beetle after that. There are rumors that the Beetle could be resurrected as an electric vehicle, though. We’ll see how that turns out, if it happens.
Cadillac CT6 Hybrid
To be fair, I totally forgot that there even was a hybrid CT6. It was built in China and quietly sold here and now it’s been discontinued for the 2019 model year. Do you have strong feelings about this? Because I sure don’t.
A Bunch of GM Cars
Alright so, you might have heard about General Motors’ announcement last month about “investing in the future,” cutting 14,000 jobs and closing five North American plants. In addition to all of that, there are car casualties, too.
GM’s announcement, like Ford’s, came this year but said that production is slated to end next year, so the following are basically dead cars walking:
- Cadillac CT6 (but not in China)
- Buick LaCrosse
- Chevrolet Impala
- Chevrolet Cruze
- Cadillac XTS
- Previous-gen Chevrolet Silverado
- Previous-gen GMC Sierra
- Chevrolet Volt
Get ‘em while you can.
BMW 3 Series Wagon
Oh, man. So, not only will the new BMW 3 Series forgo a manual option, but the wagon version isn’t coming here, either. It will become one of those non-U.S. wagons that enthusiasts here will scream and scream about for the next 25 years. And every time someone goes to Europe, they will light up their social media with photos and the hashtag #forbiddenfruit.
We’ve all been here before, but it doesn’t suck any less.
Chevrolet City Express
The Chevy City Express just isn’t as popular as the Ford Transit Connect. Launched in 2014, it is basically a re-badged Nissan NV200. And the sales figures are dismal, according to this Motor Trend story about it:
Chevrolet sold less than 30,000 units of the City Express in the U.S. since its launch. For comparison, the Ford Transit Connect sold 34,473 copies last year alone.
Yikes. After reading that, the cancellation seems pretty expected. I don’t think it’ll be terribly missed, either.
I forgot the MKT was a thing, and it definitely has something to do with its terrible name. Lincoln has heard the criticism and will phase out the MKT. Its replacement will be the Aviator, a decidedly less blah three-row crossover. Obviously, I can’t tell how the Aviator’s looks will age, but I’m willing to bet they will better than the MKT’s.
Like the MKT, the MKX will also depart and be replaced by something with a more memorable name, in this case the Lincoln Nautilus. Will a new face and a new name help Lincoln capture the luxury market once again? If it works for the Hollywood elite, then maybe it will work here.