With SUVs Taking Over, These Cars May Be the Next to Disappear

2018 Chevrolet Impala
2018 Chevrolet Impala | Chevrolet

Do you believe people are exaggerating rumors about the demise of cars? If so, here are just a few of the models U.S. consumers said goodbye to since 2016:

  • Ford Fusion
  • Chrysler 200
  • Chevrolet Sonic
  • Dodge Dart
  • Ford Fiesta

The data more than backs up what automakers are doing by shrinking their non-SUV, non-truck inventory. A report by Auto News cited a forecast of 5.3 million passenger car sales in 2018. That would be the lowest number since 1958.

Meanwhile, overall vehicle sales remain close to their all-time high. So expect most of what’s new in the next few years to be crossovers, trucks, and SUVs.

Here are seven cars that might be the next to get axed from production.

1. Volkswagen Passat

Larger sedans have fallen out of favor in America, and this Volkswagen has been among the hardest hit. Through the first five months of 2018, Passat sales crashed 38% compared to the previous year.

Looking at the moves Volkswagen has made in recent years, the brand’s Atlas SUV and forthcoming small crossover didn’t happen by accident.

2. Chevrolet Impala

Since Ford announced Taurus production would end, all eyes turned to the Chevy Impala. Even though it’s one of GM’s best-rated cars, its business case may start being a stretch.

The 2018 sales numbers offer a clue. From April through June, Impala sold 43% more than it did in 2017. That was great news. However, overall deliveries were still down 12% for the year.

In other words, buyers considering a large are probably buying an SUV these days. That could start spelling the end for Impala, even though it’s more popular than, say, the Taurus.

3. Mazda6

While you’ll have trouble finding a car as highly recommended as Mazda6, U.S. consumers just don’t but this model in volume. After losing more ground in 2018, Mazda’s midsize sedan now puts up numbers that compete with the Taurus and other also-rans.

Mazda crossovers, on the other hand, have done a brisk business in 2018. Whether you check the CX-3 (+14%), CX-9 (+18%), or CX-5 (+44%) stats, you’ll find huge gains at every turn.

Eventually, Mazda might just decide to start giving Americans what they want: big high-riding, utility vehicles. Given what the automaker has to lose from Trump’s trade war, its hand may be forced on models like Mazda6 in the coming years.

4. Buick LaCrosse

2017 Buick LaCrosse | James Derek Sapienza/The Cheat Sheet

The redesigned Buick LaCrosse looks sharp, rides smooth, and otherwise delivers what you want from a luxury sedan. Yet the U.S. market is becoming less interested in such things every year.

In the second quarter of 2018, LaCrosse fell 45%. That put the model down 10% (compared to ’17 stats) for the year.

As SUVs welcome more drivers who ease right in at hip-level, low sedans like LaCrosse start to seem out of place.

5. Chevrolet Volt

After the fourth straight month of beating the Chevy Bolt EV on the sales charts, Chevrolet Volt looked poised to overtake the brand’s all-electric model in 2018.

However, even after the plug-in hybrid’s refresh for 2019, we don’t see it as a top model in its segment. Its slow charging times in the base model and high prices in upper trims ($38,3445) make it already seem a bit dated.

Meanwhile, rumors continue to circulate that GM could drop the Volt from its lineup to make way for another pure electric model. That would make sense to us, even if loyal Volt drivers would mourn its demise.

6. Subaru Legacy

view of white 2018 Subaru Legacy on the road
2018 Subaru Legacy | Subaru

As car sales decline and several brands struggle, crossover-heavy automakers like Subaru are reaping the rewards. In 2018, analysts expect Subaru to set its 10th consecutive record for U.S. sales.

Models like Outback (+4%) and Crosstrek (+68%) continued the surge through May, while the Legacy midsize sedan (-16%) took it on the chin.

The all-new Subaru Ascent, a three-row crossover, tells you everything you need to know about where the brand is headed.

Standard all-wheel drive and a reputation for durability make this brand ready for the future of the U.S. market. We’re just not sure Legacy will be a part of it.

7. Chevrolet Cruze

Back when rumors swirled about Volt, LaCrosse, and other GM models being on the chopping block, executives at The General laughed them off.

“Right now, there’s a lot of customers that want to buy cars, and they’re big segments,” said Alan Batey, GM’s North America president, in an interview with Automotive News. “That some of our competitors have decided to exit them, that just creates a bigger opportunity for us.”

That passion for the Chevy Cruze has not been apparent in 2018. Through the first half of the year, sales of the compact car dropped 26%. Malibu declines were less drastic, but these days both cars sell at about the same pace.

As the 2019 Chevy Blazer makes its return to the market, something’s gotta give.