Last year was extremely good for the American car industry. Sales of light vehicles rose by 5.9% to more than 16.5 million on the back of low gas prices, consumer-friendly interest rates, and an improving domestic economy.
Yet, for some models, 2014 was not a banner year. Instead, these nine models were discontinued in 2014. Four of these models were manufactured by one of Honda Motor Company’s (NYSE: HMC) brands, Acura or Honda. Other brands that cut at least one model from their lineups were Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (NASDAQ: FCAU) Chrysler, Dodge Nissan, Scion, and Toyota (NYSE: TM).
For the most part, the discontinued models were hardly big names. As of 2013 — the last time that these now discontinued cars were updated for the newest model year — only one sold more than 25,000 vehicles. By comparison, top-selling car models such as the Toyota Camry usually record annual totals well into the hundreds of thousands. Four of the nine models on the discontinued car list recorded less than 10,000 cars sold in 2013.
In some cases, cars were discontinued by their manufacturer in order to promote a more focused lineup of cars and eliminate cannibalization of sales. According to Michael Cooperman, director of communications for TrueCar, “product strategy has dictated a lot of the changes.” He cited the Acura TL and TSX as examples, which were both phased out to make way for the new TLX. The Dodge Avenger was also eliminated by Dodge’s parent company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, in an effort to consolidate its critical midsize sedan offerings into a single model, the redesigned Chrysler 200. Cooperman added that the 200 was a better product, and thus more competitive, in the midsize segment.
In some instances, the discontinued cars were only ever a niche product. The Toyota FJ Cruiser, for example, was intended to appeal to drivers who enjoy off-roading and featured a unique retro look. The Nissan Cube, too, was meant to evoke a lounge atmosphere, according to the company’s own press materials, and it featured odd design features such as an asymmetric back window.
Two hybrids were also discontinued in 2014, the Honda Insight and Acura ILX Hybrid. Of these cars, Cooperman added, “engine technology has become so good that the difference between the fuel economy you can get from a regular engine versus what you can get from a hybrid isn’t that [large].” He added that this was cutting into the longer-term savings from choosing a hybrid over a conventional car.
Based on information provided by auto industry information company TrueCar, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed nine cars discontinued following the 2014 model year. Cars had to have at least 1,000 sales in 2013 — the last calendar year in which their manufacturers updated the car. Starting manufacturer’s suggested retail prices (MSRPs) are from company websites as well as from Edmunds.com. Sales figures are provided for both 2013 and 2014 and come from TrueCar as well as from individual manufacturers’ websites. To be considered, a car had to represent a standalone model or be sufficiently differentiated from other trims available. For example, we chose to include the Chrysler 200 convertible, which was discontinued, but not the BMW 3-Series convertible, which was effectively redesigned and renamed as the 4-Series convertible.
Here are nine cars that disappeared in 2014.