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So much is changing in the world of cars that it’s hard to see how some brands survive. Tesla hardly existed 10 years ago, and now it’s a juggernaut. But some legacy automakers have seen sales dip drastically, with Fiat down 60% year-over-year in the United States. Yet it’s the 18th best-selling automotive brand worldwide and the top seller under the Stellantis umbrella. Still, these worst-selling car brands spell trouble for their parent companies.

Fiat car sales slumped 60% in 2022 

A mint green Fiat 500 model parked on a driveway outside a suburban home garage in San Ramon, California
Fiat 500 | Smith Collection/Gado via Getty Images

In America, Fiat has had a difficult time selling cars. When it returned to the States amid the 2008 recession, the company expected car buyers to want the brand’s affordable, fuel-efficient vehicles. Fiat was set for a glorious comeback. 

The company had its highest sales in 2015, when it moved 46,000 vehicles. Most of those sales came from the cute Fiat 500. But small cars only go so far in the U.S., and with few new models and the 500 soldering on, sales have drastically fallen. By 2018, the company sold only 15,500 units. That number dipped below 10,000 in 2019 and found under 1,000 buyers last year in America. The Fiat 500 is set to return as an EV in 2024. 

Buick dropped 42% last year

Buick Enclave: Buick is among the worst-selling car brands in 2022
2022 Buick Enclave | GM

Buick is a legacy brand from General Motors, the world’s best-selling automaker in 2022. But Buick didn’t help GM’s bottom line, at least stateside. With only three models, Buick barely eked out 100,000 vehicles and accounted for a 0.76 share of the U.S. market. 

It’s a different story in China. There, Buick sold over 850,000 vehicles, which begs the question why does GM still sell Buick vehicles here? Having unwound Saturn, Pontiac, Hummer, and Saab in 2010, the auto giant has endured the many legal hurdles to killing brands. The process is challenging and costly. State franchise laws make closing a car brand extremely difficult.

It’s also hard to say with certainly Buick, among the worst-selling car brands, will still exist in America in five years. 

Acura dipped 35% in 2022

Acura had mostly stayed in the shadow of parent Honda until recently. It’s experiencing a rebranding that emphasizes luxury performance. At least it’s telegraphing that attempt, because nobody — not even Acura — could tell you what it was for years. But the entire Honda empire was down 34.3 % in 2022, CarPro reports.

Acura squeaked out barely 100,000 vehicles last year. A redesigned three-row MDX SUV and refreshed RDX crossover should have boosted sales. But supply chain issues squashed car sales. Maybe 2023 will be the year Acura sparks back up with the Integra and Integra Type S. 

Alfa Romeo car sales slid 30%

2023 Alfa Romeo Giulia
2023 Alfa Romeo Giulia | Stellantis

Parent company Stellantis has refused to give up on the iconic Alfa Romeo. But like its Italian cousin Fiat, the luxury automaker has struggled since its U.S. return in 2006. It wasn’t long before drivers reported various issues around 40,000 miles. Alfa was chased out of America in 1995 for this exact reputation. 

Questionable reliability, including numerous software issues, has made Alfa Romeo one of the worst-selling car brands. The company sold only 12,850 vehicles stateside in 2022.

However, this year marks the Tonale’s debut. The new crossover — joining Alfa’s two other U.S. models, the Giulia sedan and Stelvio SUV — promises to boost sales.