Special Report

Cars Americans Don't Want to Buy

U.S. auto sales last year were the highest on record, with nearly 17.5 million cars and light trucks sold. Car manufacturers were not the only ones to enjoy the higher sales but dealerships did as well, as they have watched some cars fly off their lots. Some models, however, were a much more difficult sell.

Dealerships selling cars in relatively low demand did much worse than dealerships selling the cars in high demand. Sales of Volkswagen and Fiat, for example, declined in 2015, while Subaru and Honda each had record sales years. Further, not all brands of a specific manufacturer were as successful, and while some models sold within days of arriving at the dealership, others spent months without being sold. Such difficulty in selling a model can force sellers to provide discounts in order to clear inventory. The average Honda Insight sold in 2015 spent 231.7 days on the lot before being sold — the longest of any model reviewed.

In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., Kelley Blue Book analyst Tim Fleming explained that the average amount of time a car spends on the lot before being sold, also known as days to turn, is an adequate, although not perfect, measure of demand. “Supply has a lot to do with these numbers. Obviously, if a manufacturer overproduces some of these models they’ll stick around for longer, and that average days to turn will climb.” But this is not perfect science, and some vehicles still spend months and months without being sold because they are simply no longer in demand.

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Not surprisingly, almost all of the models with the longest days to turn last year were, with one exception, extremely poor performers in 2015. Even as total U.S. auto sales rose by 5.7% last year, sales of 14 of the 15 models on this list — the Mitsubishi Mirage was the exception — declined. Sales of all 14 fell by at least 10%, with sales of 12 dropping by more than 20%.

Sales of two models — the Dodge Avenger and the Honda Insight — fell by more than half, likely because they have been discontinued. In general, demand for some of these models is low because they are outdated or discontinued, which also tends to lengthen time on the lot for these models. “They’re older models,” explained Fleming. “[The dealers] are of just selling out the remaining inventory.” Other cars on this list, such as the Honda Crosstour and Buick LaCrosse have not received a major facelift in more than half a decade.

To determine America’s slowest-selling cars, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed days to turn figures provided by Kelley Blue Book, vehicle research and valuation site. This figure measures the average number of days a particular model spent on dealers’ lots following its arrival until it was sold in 2015. Additionally, Kelley Blue Book provided figures on U.S. sales by model for 2013, 2014, and 2015. We also reviewed monthly sales releases published by auto manufacturers. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) figures, come from the manufacturers’ websites.

These are the cars Americans don’t want to buy.