While the dealership always tries to come out on top with the biggest markup, car buyers can also be a tough lot to keep pleased. Many — most, at least — enter the dealership with a good idea of what they want, and most of the negotiating is usually centered around add-ons and larger engines.
But dealers aren’t the only ones who need to watch out for fickle buyers. The manufacturers themselves run the risk of being stranded with a slew of cars that no one wants, regardless of how well-made they may be. It’s a tricky topic, and like a good game of chess, auto manufacturers have to strategically move vehicle releases and refreshes around so that everything flows as seamlessly as possible, leaving buyers with the buying options they deserve.
Unfortunately, things don’t always go according to plan, and what might have been deemed a hot buy last year can be rebranded as a total bust the next. Everything from recalls and waiting for a highly desired refresh to poor reliability ratings and rough critic reviews can affect the way a car sells, with dozens of other factors waiting on the sidelines for their chance to muck things up.
So in order to cover what’s not moving anymore, we took a look at a report from auto sales tracking website Good Car Bad Car to find some of the slowest selling cars in North America. The majority of the vehicles that were blacklisted for languishing on lots included ones that were either discontinued or were about to be replaced by newer models, all of which we disregarded. Instead, we focused on a variety of cars that aren’t overdue for a facelift, and can also still be bought readily at car lots across America. While they may all offer unique driving experiences to buyers, there is one thing that all of these vehicles have in common — a general disinterest from the average new car buyer.
1. Fiat 500L
Starting us off on the wrong foot is the adorably over-sized Fiat 500L. With its poor reliability ratings from Consumer Reports and further unflattering media reviews and polarizing lines, it’s no wonder that this car still struggles to sell, as sales numbers for it remain down almost 75% over this time last year.
2. Mini Paceman
MINI sold 251 of these things in May of 2015, which is far from being spectacular. Do you know how many it sold in May of this year? Nine. That’s a 96.4% decline in sales, and while the Paceman and its armada of customizable offshoots have never really caught on with American buyers, its high sticker price and small proportions make it an even tougher sell for most dealers.
3. Scion xB
Scion might be going away for good this year, but it still has loads of cars for sale across America, and most of them aren’t moving… at all. Take the xB for instance: Once the posterboy for the modern CUV, the little tissue box has gone from pop superstar to struggling karaoke singer in no time, as even special limited models like the 686 Parklan Edition can’t help sales. Rocking a 91% drop in May sales versus this time last year, and only 135 units leaving salesroom floors, it looks like it’s finally time to say goodbye to the brave little toaster.
4. Chrysler 200
Deep down we really wish this car had been a hit for Chrysler. Stylish-looking, lavishly equipped, and completely reconfigured since 2014, Detroit’s red-headed stepchild could have had a hit on its hands if it had promoted and marketed this sedan more aggressively and made it perform better. Maybe by utilizing a Mopar tuned 200 S like the one seen here, Chrysler might have seen an end to the sales free-fall the redesigned mid-size sedan has been experiencing, and perhaps then it could have kept it from going extinct.
5. Nissan Leaf
For all intents and purposes, we are at a point in automotive history where sales of something like the Leaf should be crushing it in urban settings. But alas, people don’t always dig the way the little Japanese compact looks, it remains a hair on the small side, and regardless of what urban street parking looks like, finding a charging station conveniently located nearby is often easier said than done. But with a bigger battery now on board, this is one of those vehicles that we will have to revisit a year from now, because it stands a strong chance of re-catching on with car buyers.
6. Volkswagen CC
Despite being a slick slice of German engineering, the mid-size CC continues to struggle on sales floors as VW buyers opt for its brother, the Passat. According to our recent comparison we did between the two, we noted that “the CC is one of the rarest new cars on the road, with just 1,513 finding buyers through May this year.”
7. Audi R8
Our final flop is a hardcore supercar, and being recently refreshed you would think the world’s elite would be tripping over one another to get ahold of this V10 monster. But regardless of how refined it may have become, or how nice its interior may be, with its hefty $162,900 starting price (which tops out at $189,900) supercar buyers seem to be more interested in new cars like the reborn Acura NSX and the sensational Porsche 911 R.