2014 is in the rear-view mirror, and now with the entire year having passed, we can separate the winners from the losers. While the 2014 model year brought with it some tremendous additions to the automotive market, it also brought some duds. Of course, there are duds every year, but sometimes it takes a little bit of time to have passed for the most egregious offenders to outshine the rest.
Luckily for us, Forbes had put together a list of the biggest duds that 2014 brought to the field. There are some cars on the list that probably won’t surprise many readers, as there wasn’t a whole lot expected of them in the first place. Others, on the other hand, are disappointing not only to consumers, but to the companies that put them out. There are losers in the small car and electric car categories, as well as midsize sedans and luxury cars. Simply put, there were misfires all across the spectrum.
Read on to see 12 of the biggest automotive busts from the 2014 model year, as compiled by Forbes.
1. Cadillac ELR
One vehicle that many people had high hopes for was the Cadillac ELR. It was meant to go up against some of the best EV and hybrid cars that the luxury field had to offer — whether it be from Tesla, or anyone else — and yet, it fell flat in the end. What truly held the ELR back from greatness is a high price of $75,000, and its inability to live up to competitors. Four doors would’ve been nice, too.
2. Acura RLX
In order to find a suitable replacement for the RL, Acura rolled out the new RLX, meant to be the brand’s new full-size flagship sedan. What Forbes says really holds the RLX back from greatness is its conservative styling, and the lack of an available V8 engine, which many competitors include as a part of the package. The result? Declining sales, and pessimism regarding the car’s future in the Acura lineup.
3. Chevrolet SS
The SS was reborn as a result of many consumer’s calls for its return. The Chevy SS was brought back, as many had hoped, but despite the renewed interest and demand, became Chevy’s worst-selling model for 2014. Pinpointing the weaknesses on the SS is not easy — it is sporty and stylish, and uses a V8 engine that was formerly part of the Corvette package. Instead, it looks like consumers may have found the Impala, or any one of the other large sedans on the market more fitting.
4. Dodge SRT Viper
It’s not easy to look at the Dodge SRT Viper and think, “wow, what a bust,” but Forbes felt differently. To sum things up, Forbes writes, “the good news is that a whopping $12,500 price reduction helped jump-start sales of the ferocious 640-horsepower Dodge SRT Viper sports car with a 25 percent increase over the first 11 months in 2014. The bad news is that even with that big a boost, sales totaled just 671 units.” And that is the problem with the Viper. There are Hellcat versions of the Charger and Challenger available for much less, and consumers who crave power are more likely to opt for those than the Viper.
5. Ford Flex/Lincoln MKT
With sales falling for Ford’s box-like Flex SUV, the vehicle has managed to find itself on the list of 2014’s busts. Its corporate cousin and more upscale version from Lincoln, the MKT, is being dragged down with it as well, unfortunately. The Flex/MKT’s biggest issue? It’s stagnate. “Lingering far too long without a major redesign, buyers are instead choosing the newer and more efficiently packaged Ford Explorer,” Forbes says.
6. BMW Z4
On the luxury side of things, BMW’s Z4 didn’t do much to impress the critics, or consumers. Forbes says that through the first 11 months of 2014, less than 2,000 Z4 units were actually sold, partially due to the still shaky economy. Yet, competitors like Porsche are still moving similar vehicles off of dealer lots, so maybe there’s more to it than consumer confidence. Either way, the Z4 was a letdown.
7. Mini Coupe/Roadster/Paceman
Maybe drivers are getting over the novelty that Mini vehicles once provided, or perhaps it’s simply that the company’s facing more competition than it once did from the likes of Fiat, and others. Overall Mini’s sales as a brand were down considerably, per Forbes’ report, with the Paceman, Roadster, and Coupe models suffering the most. The only bright spot in the company’s lineup? The Countryman, which was the only model to see an improvement in sales.
8. Volvo S80
Citing the need for a redesign or “full reinvention” as Forbes puts it, Volvo’s S80 sedan found a spot on last year’s list of duds. One of the top issues plaguing the S80’s sagging sales numbers is that other cars in its segment simply offer more for the money — more in terms of performance, mechanics, and styling. If Volvo manages to put together a fresh redesign with more options, perhaps the S80 can reclaim some of its former glory.
9. Scion iQ
When it comes to small cars, it doesn’t get much smaller than the Scion iQ. The iQ’s size should have been a sign for how big the company’s expectations for it should have been, as the car became a failure in the U.S. last year. Perhaps Scion bet too heavily on the market for small micro cars, or maybe it’s ahead of its time? It doesn’t really matter, because the iQ is in its last days in the United States.
10. Mitsubishi iMiEV
Following in the iQ’s footsteps is another small car that failed to pick up any traction in the U.S. — the Mitsubishi i-MiEV. Mitsubishi as a brand has had a hard enough time making any real headway with U.S. consumers over the past decade, and the i-MiEV certainly hasn’t helped. How big of a bust has this vehicle been? Through November, it had sold a measly 184 units for the whole year.
11. Hyundai Azera
Hyundai was unfortunately unable to avoid putting out a bit of a bust in 2014, and for them, it was the Azera. The problem with the Azera is not so much that it’s a bad car, or even that it can’t perform well. The issue is that it’s kind of boring, and is easily overlooked by other models in not only Hyundai’s lineup, but its corporate sibling Kia’s as well. Through November, sales of the Azera were down a whopping 35% from 2013.
12. Lincoln MKS
We all knew that Lincoln had a tough hill to climb if it wanted to regain a significant foothold in the luxury segment, and if models like the MKS are a sign of what’s to come, it could get ugly. As Forbes says, “Not particularly credible or competitive in the luxury segment, this remains little more than a restyled version of the fleet-favorite Ford Taurus with a few added features.” If Lincoln wants to get serious, it may need to take the MKS, and much of its lineup, back to the drawing board.