The Cars Americans Will Not Buy

Douglas A. McIntyre

5. Toyota Yaris
> Days to Turn: 97
> Price: $14,115
> Configuration: 4 Cyl, 3 Door
> MPG: 30 City, 28 Hwy

Another small Toyota vehicle whose sales have struggled is the Yaris. This small, relatively fuel-efficient hatchback debuted in 1999 and became increasingly popular throughout the 2000s. In 2008, sales of the Yaris peaked at 102,328 units. In three short years, however, sales of the Yaris fell 68% to 32,700 vehicles sold in 2011. The car received a 41 out of 100 from Consumer Reports.

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4. Mazda 6
> Days to Turn: 100
> Price: $20,725
> Configuration: 6 Cyl, 4 Door
> MPG: 22 City, 31 Hwy

The first generation of the Mazda 6 was released in 2006 as Mazda’s answer for the midsize Camry and Accord. While not terrible, the car has slightly worse gas mileage than the other two vehicles. This may have contributed to its declining sales. Between 2006 and 2011, domestic sales declined 41%, from 61,200 to 35,700. According to Consumer Reports, the car scored average to poor in owner satisfaction, predicted depreciation and fuel economy. JD Power ranks the car 3 out of 5 in both overall quality and design and initial quality.

3. Kia Rio
> Days to Turn: 101
> Price: $13,400
> Configuration: 4 Cyl, 4 Door/4 Cyl, 5 Door
> MPG: 30 City, 40 Hwy

According to Edmunds, “As far as small economy cars go, there are better choices than the 2011 Kia Rio.” The average Kia Rio spent 101 days on the dealer lot in 2011, just shy of twice the length the average vehicle spent on the lot. Sales of the Rio, which comes in both subcompact and hatchback models, declined  18.3%, between 2010 and 2011, from 24,600 to 20,100.

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2. Nissan Titan
> Days to Turn: 106
> Price: $28,520
> Configuration: 8 Cyl, 2 Door
> MPG: 13 City, 18 Hwy

The Nissan Titan was introduced in 2004 as the company’s full-size pickup. The Titan sold well in its early years. In 2007, Nissan sold 65,700 units of the truck in just one year. However, by 2008, sales had declined nearly 50% to 34,000. In 2011, the truck sold just fewer than 22,000 in total. Rising gas prices may be a factor in this. The truck’s current generation has an abysmal estimated mileage of 18 MPG on the highway and just 13 MPG in the city.

1. Volkswagen Routan
> 2011 Days to Turn: 107
> Price: $27,020
> Configuration: 6 Cyl, 4 Door
> MPG: 17 City, 25 Hwy

In 2005, Volkswagen entered into a partnership with Chrysler to develop its own minivan, using the American automaker’s Town & Country as the base model. The Routan, when it was introduced in 2008, became the first minivan made by the German company in North America. Sales, however, have been poor from the start. In 2009, the first full year of sales, just 14,600 units were sold. In 2010, sales were up slightly, to 15,900, but fell more than 20% to 12,470 in 2011. The car spent, according to Edmunds, an average of 107 days on the lot — more than double the U.S. average.

-Michael B. Sauter