The Worst-Selling Car Brands In 2022
So much is changing in the land of cars that it’s hard to see how some vehicle brands exist. Tesla hardly existed ten 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 U.S. Yet, it is the 18th best-selling brand worldwide and the best-selling brand under the Stellantis umbrella. Still, these worst-selling brands spell trouble for their parent companies.
Fiat down 60%, 2022
In the U.S., Fiat has had a difficult time selling cars. When it returned to America in the midst of the 2008 recession, the expectation was that tight money and high gas prices would prevail. With great fuel efficiency and auto buyers watching their pennies, Fiat’s return in 2004 was to be a glorious comeback.
It had its highest sales in 2015 when it sold 46,000 vehicles. The cute 500 was the majority of those sales. 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 since. By 2018 it sold only 15,500 cars. It dipped below 10,000 in 2019 and found under 1,000 buyers last year in America. It is set for a return in 2024 as an EV.
Buick down 42%, 2022
Buick is a legacy brand from GM, which was the No. 1 selling auto company in the world last year. But Buick didn’t help the bottom line for GM, at least here in the U.S. Last year it barely eked out 100,000 vehicles and accounted for just 0.76 share of the overall market in the U.S., with three models.
In China, it’s a different story. There it sold over 850,000 vehicles, which begs the question why does GM still sell the Buick here? Having unwound Saturn, Pontiac, Hummer, and Saab in 2010, it has endured the many legal hurdles to killing brands, and it’s not easy, but it is costly. State franchise laws make it extremely difficult to just close down an auto brand. It’s also difficult to say with certainly Buick will still be around in America in five years.
Acura down 35%, 2022
Acura has mostly been in the shadow of parent Honda, until recently. It is going through a rebranding where it is emphasizing luxury performance. At least it is telegraphing that attempt, because for years prior nobody could tell you what it was, not even Acura. But all of the Honda empire was down in 2022, with the Honda brand down 34.3 % according to CarPro.
Acura squeaked out barely 100,000 last year. A redesigned three-row MDX SUV and refreshed RDX crossover should have helped bring up sales. But supply chain issues kept car sales down. Maybe 2023 will be the year it sparks back up with Integra and Integra Type S.
Alfa Romeo down 30%, 2022
It seems like parent company Stellantis won’t give up on the iconic Alfa Romeo brand. But, much like its cousin Fiat, since its return in 2006 its time in the U.S. has been arduous. It didn’t take long until owners reported various issues around 40,000 miles. Alfa was chased out of the U.S. in 1995 for this exact reputation.
Reliability, including numerous software issues, has tanked the once-promising brand. For 2023, it introduces the Tonale crossover, which makes three models including the Giulia sedan and Stelvio hatchback. In all, Alfa sold only 12,850 vehicles in the U.S. in 2022.