U.S. auto sales have hit record highs in the last half decade. In the seventh straight year of climbing demand, Americans bought nearly 17.6 million vehicles in 2016, up from the previous record of 17.5 million in 2015. While by most estimates 2017 will not beat 2016’s record, car sales remained relatively strong last year, fueled by improving economic conditions, low gas prices, and low unemployment.
Consumer tastes in cars are not static. Small SUVs, crossovers, and pickup trucks gained favor among American car buyers in the first 11 months of 2017, as large and mid-size sedans and compact cars rapidly declined in popularity.
To capitalize on trends and integrate new technologies, automakers are constantly updating their fleet and occasionally adding new models. A range of automakers, including Ford, Toyota, and Volvo, brought back decade-old nameplates or began selling all-new vehicles on dealership lots nationwide during the 2017 calendar year — but not all were met with the same success. To identify the most (and least) successful car launches of 2017, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed unit sales of all new models launched in the U.S. market last year by the world’s biggest car companies.
Often, new models need to establish reputations before they take off in popularity. Partially because none of the cars on this list have been available for a full year, none topped 25,000 unit sales in the first 11 months in 2017. Whether or not any of these vehicles will ever achieve the status of industry stalwarts that sell in the hundreds of thousands year after year — such as the Ford F-150, the Toyota Camry, or the Honda Civic — remains to be seen.