These Are The Cars Killed By Automakers That Refuse To Die

These Are The Cars Killed By Automakers That Refuse To Die

Automakers may end models, but their sales live on.

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Toyota FJ Cruiser
Image: Toyota

Cars never really die, they just fade away. At least, in terms of sales. GoodCarBadCar released its round-up of all the cars sold in 2021. Predictably, the various shortages and squeezes caused by the pandemic on dealer lots gave quite the boost to orphaned models. Cars that sold in the single digits since their deaths reached dozens of buyers in 2021. That 2017 Chrysler 200 built during the Obama administration suddenly looked pretty sweet when new car prices are averaging over $45,000 for the first time in American history.

It’s important to keep in mind when buying a new old car that cars typically don’t like to just sit around. Brakes, tires and those all-important seals and tubes naturally degrade over time depending on exposure to the elements, so even getting a great deal on old model like these might end up costing their owners. In 2021, however, not everyone could afford to be choosy.

While many of these sales are confusing and likely acts of desperation, please note that six lucky people bought brand-new Dodge Vipers last year! Six! Our hearty congrats to them for their excellent purchase.

Advertisement

2 / 10

Nissan 370Z - 37 Sold

Nissan 370Z - 37 Sold

Nissan 370Z
Nissan 370Z
Image: Nissan

The 370Z is well and truly dead after 12 long years of being the life of the Nissan party, but it had been on life support for a while. The brand only sold a little under 2,000 models in 2020, and sales went from triple to double digits around the time Nissan revealed the Z Proto as a pretty much production-ready concept. You’d think everyone who wanted the last-gen Z would have scored one by now, but you’d be wrong! Over 30 people took the plunge on the 370Z last year. It’s too bad those happy few couldn’t hold on for just a little while longer, because the new Z is a powerful cutie.

Advertisement

3 / 10

Toyota FJ Cruiser - 1 Sold

Toyota FJ Cruiser - 1 Sold

Toyota FJ Cruiser
Toyota FJ Cruiser
Image: Toyota

I know! I can hardly believe it either. The FJ Cruiser is a cult classic of the automotive world, and there was a new one just sitting in a dealership for seven or so years. It’s beloved for not only being capable (the four-wheel drive Toyota FJ Cruiser’s 4.0-liter V6 engine produces 260 horsepower) but also charming in its design, recalling retro styling cues without being either too cutesy or corny. The dealership must have been waiting for the right buyer/pile of money to walk through its doors. Indeed, you can find used sub-50,000 mile Cruisers on Bring a Trailer selling in the low $40,000 range — almost twice what the base car sold for when new. An FJ with only dealership miles must have cost a pretty penny. I hope whoever has it now plans to get it a little dirty. This car has waited long enough to feel mud in its wheel wells.

Advertisement

4 / 10

Mazda5 - 60 Sold

Mazda5 - 60 Sold

Image for article titled These Are The Cars Killed By Automakers That Refuse To Die
Image: Mazda

Here’s a real blast from the past: The Mazda5 was a sort-of compact minivan with a terrible crash test rating. It sold well for a while, but that safety hook is minivan bread-and-butter. Plus, as always, it wasn’t an SUV so, you know. To the car graveyard you go. Mazda cut the model dead in 2015, but it seems there are still enough new models hanging around. Either desperation or honest-to-god appreciation forced 60 buyers’ hands last year. All the sales were reported in February 2021, when shortages were just starting to hit the market full force. That means it could have been a fleet sale, but who would want a fleet of these cars years later?

Advertisement

5 / 10

Jeep Patriot - 15 Sold

Jeep Patriot - 15 Sold

Image for article titled These Are The Cars Killed By Automakers That Refuse To Die
Image: Jeep

That blurry, overexposed photo with horrible glare comes straight from the Jeep media site, if that gives you any indication for how little of a damn the brand gave about the Patriot at the end of its life. The model died a righteous death in 2017, but it seems the Jeep with the second most problematic name in 2021 lives on in the hearts of at least 15 buyers. In 2020, Jeep sold only four of them. Desperate times, I suppose.

Advertisement

6 / 10

Dodge Viper - 6 Sold

Dodge Viper - 6 Sold

Image for article titled These Are The Cars Killed By Automakers That Refuse To Die
Image: Dodge

Here’s how we described the car back in the simpler days of 2015, because it’s perfect and I can’t really do any better:

Imagine a party filled with a bunch of wealthy, powerful businessmen all wearing swanky suits and Rolexes, saying stuff like “Hey there, Chip. You should really consider further diversifying your stock portfolio” as they take sips from their tea and contemplate tossing the string quartet one of the loose $100 bills in their pockets.

Then imagine Samuel L. Jackson crashing this stuffy, lame-ass party with a cigar in his mouth and a marmoset perched on his Kangol as he screams “SCREW THIS MUTHA FUCKAS!”

That’s the Viper.

Dodge ended the Viper in 2017, though the model has seen sales in the single digits every year since then. It didn’t sell terribly well before Dodge shelved the model (nor was it meant to; it’s a madcap sports car, not a mass-appeal Camry) but its enduring legacy as a screaming fun machine means you can still grab a few examples brand new. No matter how far into the future we inexorably travel, the Viper’s face-ripping abilities will always be cherished by enthusiasts.

Advertisement

7 / 10

Dodge Dart - 10 Sold

Dodge Dart - 10 Sold

Image for article titled These Are The Cars Killed By Automakers That Refuse To Die
Image: Dodge

And on the other end of the Dodge spectrum we have the Dart, which outsold the Viper by a whopping four units. It’s still the car that makes me instantly say “My car is also named Dort.” The fact I don’t remember much else about this car besides the lousy font on the badge says a whole lot. Dodge’s attempt to revive the decades-old model only lasted from 2013 to 2016. The Dart died right around when the CUV crazy was picking up steam, but we can’t really blame changing tastes on the demise of this tiny and not-all-that-impressive vehicle. Still, some people are taking the plunge, with almost a dozen people becoming the (proud?) owners of a brand new, five-year-old vehicle.

Advertisement

8 / 10

Fiat 500 - 51

Fiat 500 - 51

Image for article titled These Are The Cars Killed By Automakers That Refuse To Die
Image: Fiat

Fifty one people purchased brand new pint-sized 500 in 2021. Sales of the plucky little people’s car peaked in the year or two after it returned to our shores and then experienced a brisk decline. The model was nixed in American markets in 2019, after eight years on the market. Its last year on sale, Fiat sold only 5,370 units, so there are still plenty of them out there it seems. At least they don’t take up much room on the dealer lots. Such tiny city cars are a hard sell in a market dominated by big SUVs and sorta-big CUVs. The formally tiny Fiat lives on as an inflated version of its former self; the Fiat 500X. If you can’t beat them, join them I guess.

Advertisement

9 / 10

Chrysler 200 - 15 Sold

Chrysler 200 - 15 Sold

Image for article titled These Are The Cars Killed By Automakers That Refuse To Die
Image: Chrysler

I’m not picking on Stellantis here, I swear. The company just seems to keep unsold models hanging around for longer than other manufacturers. The 200 was supposed to represent Chrysler’s triumphant return to the once all-important mid-size segment. The company invested $1 billion in a state-of-the-art 200 factory, only for layoffs to follow flagging demand. It wasn’t a terrible car, but it wasn’t particularly good either. For one thing, the back seat was notoriously difficult to get into and out of, which kind negates the whole appeal of a mid-size car. Chrysler declared the 200 an abysmal failure and cut the line dead about five years ago. Still, 15 people decided to call a new 200 their own last year.

Advertisement

10 / 10