The Cars Americans Will Not Buy

Douglas A. McIntyre

10. Dodge Ram Pickup 1500
> Days to Turn: 91
> Price: $20,610
> Configuration: 6 Cyl, 2 Door
> MPG: 14 City, 20 Hwy

The Dodge Ram 1500 is the fourth-generation Dodge Ram, and has been in production since 2009. Combined with all other Dodge Ram models, domestic 2011 sales reached 156,900. While the trucks’s unit sales are far more than the rest of the vehicles on this list, they are far less than its own total sales from previous years. In 2006 the model sold 227,600 trucks. The 1500 has poor fuel efficiency, with 14 MPG in the city and 20 MPG on the highway. It also has particularly high owner costs, low predicted reliability, and high predicted depreciation. JD power rates the vehicle just 2 out of 5 for initial quality, but gives the car high marks for overall quality and design.

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9. Cadillac DTS
> Days to Turn: 93
> Price: $46,680
> Configuration: 8 Cyl, 4 Door
> MPG: 15 City, 23 Hwy

The Cadillac DTS was the automaker’s replacement for the Deville, which was phased out after 2005. Since it was introduced, sales of the vehicle have declined precipitously. In 2006, Cadillac sold nearly 60,000 units of the model. In 2010, it sold just 18,640 units. Last year, sales of the DTS were down to an all-time low of fewer than 12,000. A possible reason for these declining sales may have been the car’s terrible fuel economy. Cadillac discontinued the model, with 2011 being the last year of production, in order to make way for the coming XTS.

8. Suzuki SX4
> Days to Turn: 93
> Price: $16,999
> Configuration: 4 Cyl, 5 Door
> MPG: 23 City, 30 Hwy

Sales of the Suzuki SX4 increased roughly 8% between 2010 and 2011, from 11,600 units sold to 12,500. However, since the model was first introduced in 2007, sales have declined dramatically. From their peak in 2008 of just over 30,000 units, sales have fallen nearly 60% to 12,520 units last year. The SX4, for a compact crossover, has subpar gas mileage for a hatchback, and Consumer Reports gives the car mediocre ratings for ride, acceleration and depreciation, and a poor rating for overall satisfaction. JD power rates the vehicle just 2 out of 5 for initial quality. Average time on lot for the car, according to Edmunds, is 93 days.

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7. Honda Element
> Days to Turn: 96
> Price: $19,168
> Configuration: 4 Cyl, 5 Door
> MPG: 20 City, 25 Hwy

Honda (NYSE: HMC) debuted its compact crossover SUV, the Element, in 2003. Sales of the car have tumbled since. In its first year, the car sold more than 84,000 units. By 2006, Honda moved just 51,800 units. And by last year, sales of the Element had declined to just over 11,500 units. In 2010, Honda announced it would discontinue the model, with the 2011 edition the last year of production. Last year, the car spent an average of 96 days on the dealer lot.

6. Toyota Matrix
> Days to Turn: 97
> Price: $18,845
> Configuration: 4 Cyl, 5 Door
> MPG: 26 City, 32 Hwy

The Matrix debuted in 2003 as a hatchback variation on the Corolla. The car, like its compact role model, gets decent gas mileage of 26 MPG in the city and 32 MPG on the highway. It also received very good reviews on Consumer Reports for reliability, owner costs and depreciation. Nevertheless, sales of the vehicle have been terrible. Toyota sold 49,400 units of the hatchback in 2008, 14,470 units in 2010, and less than 14,000 in 2011. The car averaged 97 days on the lot in 2011.