Nobody Wants Sports Cars Anymore-Are They Dying?
Nobody’s buying sports cars. Has it really come to this? Are SUVs and pickups all that will be left? That and autonomous rolling toasters? From the latest sales figures for 2019, we have to surmise the end of the sports car is nigh? We’ve assembled a baker’s dozen of those that stand out for their small numbers. Some of these are more in the Grand Touring or sports car-lite genre but they’re at least sport two-door convertibles that are low, sleek, and nimble. Let’s take a look at what may be the beginning of the end of the sports car as we know it.
Alfa Romeo 4C
Alfa is having a terrible time both here and in Europe. Its days could be numbered with the merger of Fiat Chrysler and the PSA Group. If the lovely 4C is any indication this brand is toast. The coupe has been discontinued leaving the convertible as the only offering in 2020. Selling for over $68,000 could be a stumbling block to increased sales. 144 sold in 2019.
This was not surprising. Other than 2017 when the all-new NSX finally showed up NSX sales have been around 200 cars for years. It’s best year was in 1991 when it sold almost 2.000. So this is most definitely expected to be a low-volume seller. 238 sold
As with a lot of its portfolio, the Nissan GT-R is a bit long in the tooth. It has sold between 1,000-1,500 in many years. But it has steadily declined to a little over 500 for 2017 and 2018 before dropping further to only 331 sold in 2019. With such low volume and with Nissan in so much trouble it may be a while before we see a new one if ever.
Most years selling under 900 units a year sales dropped almost in half from 2018. This is another car never expected to be a volume seller but the drop is a bit surprising. Its best year was in 2011 when it sold 1,145 R8s. In 2019 it sold 574.
Lexus LC 500
More of a grand tourer the LC-500 is still a striking and quick car. Only out for a couple of years, it is already seeing declining numbers. When it launched in 2017 it wasn’t available until mid-year and it still sold 2,500. Last year that number was cut in half to 1,219 sold.
There were years past when the TT hit over 12,000 cars sold but those numbers have been hovering around 2,000-3,000 for years. The past two years it has seen sales of around 1,200 with 2019 selling 1324 TTs.
Another car that is considered more of a grand tourer is still Mercedes’ most sporting road car. The SL has seen high numbers back in the 1990s but has steadily declined the last few years. Still, the 2019 sales figure of 1690 sold is one of its poorest showings ever. Mercedes needs to reestablish the SL with a tauter, more nimble successor soon.
Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86
The joint Subaru/Toyota sports car is cheap, good looking, and quick. If there ever was an entry-level sports car this is it. Is this the strongest indication yet that the sports car is dying? BRZ sales were 2334, while the 86 saw a bit more at 3398 sold. Did Subaru and Toyota go into this thinking combined sales would only be 5.600 units?
This is another great Nissan product that was in need of a refresh a few years ago and is chugging along while it gets its act together. When a new Z might come along is anyone’s guess. Nissan should expect continuing lower sales. 2019 happens to be the year it sold the least 370Zs since it debuted in 2009 with 2384 sold.
Fiat 124 Spider
Fiat sold twice as many 124 Spiders in 2017 as it did last year. The Miata-based sports car sold a third of its Mazda sibling. Is it the Fiat name or lack of dealerships? Who knows the reason but Fiat is dying in the US. With the merger of Fiat Chrysler and the PSA Group, it will be interesting to see how this all shakes out once it is finalized in about a year. Fiat sold 2644 124 Spiders in 2019.
With sold sales in both 2017 and 2018, the units sold have been halved in 2019 to just 3880 sold. A GTS is over $80,000. This might be beyond reach for most interested in these stellar Porsches. Unfortunately, that has never stopped Porsche from squeezing the maximum price from its cars.
Mazda Miata MX-5
The Miata has always been a fun sports car with cheap entry and good performance. Sales have been all over the place over the years but in the early days of the Miata, it was selling between 25,000-30,000 a year. Those numbers have slowly shrunk over the years to its current 7753 sold in 2019.