Special Report

Cars Americans Don't Want to Buy

Photo by Bill Pugliano / Getty Images

It’s an interesting time for the U.S. auto industry. With more American consumers preferring to drive larger SUVs and crossovers, sedan sales are dropping, a shift that some manufacturers failed to anticipate.

Not all cars take the same amount of time to sell — some of the most in-demand models may find a buyer in just a few weeks, while other vehicles will sit on dealership lots for months before they are sold.

Days to turn also can be a useful metric in determining which car segments and models are fading in popularity. If a vehicle sits on the lot for six months, it often means the manufacturer overestimated how popular it would be.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed the average number of days each car model sat on a dealer’s lot before being sold, or days to turn, in the U.S. market in 2018, based on data provided by Kelley Blue Book. These are the 26 cars that sold in more than 130 days in 2018.

Click here to see the cars Americans don’t want to buy.

Source: Courtesy of BMW

26. BMW 6 Series
> Avg. days on lot: 130.3
> 2018 sales: 3,764
> 2017 sales: 3,355
> Starting at: $70,300

While the 6 Series has been well reviewed, competitor Lexus LS is doing a better job of capturing the imaginationand walletsof buyers comfortable with this price range. Luxury SUVs, too, are capturing a generous segment of the buyers in this price range, with vehicles like the Mercedes-Benz GLS and the Lincoln Navigator. The BMW 6 Series shares the slow-sellers category with the Mercedes-Benz E-Class.


Source: Handout / Getty Images

25. Cadillac CTS
> Avg. days on lot: 130.3
> 2018 sales: 11,219
> 2017 sales: 10,344
> Starting at: $46,995

The Cadillac CTS 4-door luxury sedan is in its third generation since its introduction in 2003. The model has been on this list before, but the good news is that the 2018 model cut 42 days off its 2017 days on the lot average of 172.3 days. Reviews of the car cite the CTS for agile handling and comfort, so perhaps it’s building a stronger following.

Source: Bill Pugliano / Getty Images

24. GMC Canyon
> Avg. days on lot: 130.6
> 2018 sales: 33,492
> 2017 sales: 32,106
> Starting at: $21,500

GMC introduced the second generation of the midsize Canyon pickup in 2015, still in production today. Sales of the 2018 Canyon inched up a tiny bit over 2017, but the model rivals VW’s Golf SportWagen and Fiat’s 500L in lot longevity. GMC is sticking with this generation a while longer, with the 2019 models boasting only a few infotainment and tech changes.

Source: David McNew / Getty Images

23. Volkswagen Golf SportWagen
> Avg. days on lot: 130.6
> 2018 sales: 14,123
> 2017 sales: 26,700
> Starting at: $21,895

Maybe Volkswagen buyers didn’t get the memo that wagon sales have been climbing over the past five years. Sales of the Golf SportWagen declined from 26,700 in 2017 to 14,123 in 2018. Volkswagen clearly overestimated demand, and Golf SportWagens sit on dealer lots for over four months. The SportWagen has the reputation of riding and handling like a car, with the cargo space of a small SUV. What’s not to like? Perhaps potential buyers are waiting for a refresh or redesign of this first-generation vehicle introduced in 2015.


Source: David McNew / Getty Images

22. Fiat 500X
> Avg. days on lot: 130.7
> 2018 sales: 5,223
> 2017 sales: 7,665
> Starting at: $19,995

Poor Fiat, the maker is occupying a sizable chunk of this list with four models, from the sublimely sporty Spider (No. 16) to the ridiculously poor-selling 500L (No. 9). The subcompact 500X crossover spends an average of 130.7 days on the lot before finding a home. This petite cutie offers standard all-wheel drive and good safety features but falls short on reliability, resale value, and elbow room.

Source: Bryan Mitchell / Getty Images

21. Hyundai Santa Fe
> Avg. days on lot: 130.9
> 2018 sales: 94,016
> 2017 sales: 105,416
> Starting at: $24,250

It’s taking a while to sell the mass-market midsize SUV Hyundai Santa Fe, but the Korean automaker is still moving an impressive number of units in a field crowded with competitors. The vehicle was refreshed in 2017, but perhaps buyers have been waiting for the 2019 introduction of the fourth generation. The latest version is gathering recommendations and positive reviews, so it will be interesting to see which list the Santa Fe will land on at year’s end.


Source: 52248755@N03 / Flickr

20. Buick Regal
> Avg. days on lot: 132.8
> 2018 sales: 14,118
> 2017 sales: 11,559
> Starting at: $25,070

Though this is the Buick Regal’s second consecutive year on this list, there’s good news to report about the new sixth generation, which made its debut in 2018. Redesigned as a midsize luxury hatchback, more units of the model are selling in fewer days, disappearing off the sales lots almost 45 days faster than the 2017 version.

Source: Brian Ach / Getty Images

19. Cadillac XT5
> Avg. days on lot: 133.0
> 2018 sales: 60,565
> 2017 sales: 68,312
> Starting at: $41,695

For the second year in a row, Cadillac has the dubious distinction of holding three slots on this list. In 2017, it was three sedans that took their time in attracting buyers: the ATS, CTS, and XTS. In 2018, the CTS and ATS are joined by a rarity on the roster of slow sellers: a luxury SUV, the compact XT5. The model debuted in 2017 as a replacement for the SRX.

Source: Courtesy of Toyota

18. Toyota Yaris iA
> Avg. days on lot: 133.4
> 2018 sales: 25,115
> 2017 sales: 35,727
> Starting at: $15,450

On this list for the second straight year, the mass-market hatchback 2018 Toyota Yaris iA has a lot going for it, if you’re a buyer looking for a basic, budget-priced and highly fuel-efficient set of wheels. Apparently, those buyers are in shorter supply than Toyota has estimated, with car sales down by about a third in 2018 and sitting on the lot for an average of 133.4 days before being sold.


Source: autovivacom / Flickr

17. Cadillac ATS
> Avg. days on lot: 135.2
> 2018 sales: 10,859
> 2017 sales: 13,100
> Starting at: $38,995

The Cadillac ATS luxury sedan is setting a record of sorts, becoming the only vehicle to make this list for five years in a row. ATS sales have decreased each year since its introduction in 2013, barely breaking into five figures in 2018. But looking on the bright side, the ATS’s average time on the lot was almost a month briefer than in the previous year. Nevertheless, the manufacturer has discontinued the sedan for 2019, though it will continue to produce an ATS coupe.

Source: Scott Olson / Getty Images

16. Fiat 124 Spider
> Avg. days on lot: 137.0
> 2018 sales: 3,515
> 2017 sales: 4,478
> Starting at: $25,190

The Fiat 124 Spider sports convertible receives higher scores in reviews than other models from the Italian carmaker. Though the Spider’s history goes back more than a half century, the current iteration was brand-new in 2017 and is cited for its handling, peppy performance, and handsome design. There’s also a nostalgia factor, as its styling evokes the sporty roadsters of a bygone era. So far, the 124 Spider shows no sign of building a following in the U.S. market.


Source: Scott Halleran / Getty Images

15. Mini Cooper
> Avg. days on lot: 137.9
> 2018 sales: 26,119
> 2017 sales: 30,710
> Starting at: $21,900

Are we over the Mini Cooper? The cute third-generation 2018 subcompact Mini Cooper is charming, relatively inexpensive in the basic model, and now comes with a rearview camera, parking sensors, and other updates. Here’s the thing — the bottom line gets hefty as you add options, taking potential buyers into price ranges occupied by more spacious and higher rated vehicles.

Source: christiandflores / Flickr

14. Audi A8
> Avg. days on lot: 139.3
> 2018 sales: 1,599
> 2017 sales: 3,127
> Starting at: $83,800

The 2018 luxury Audi A8 sedan was the last model of the third generation. With sales down almost 50% from the previous year, perhaps buyers were holding onto their wallets in anticipation of the debut of the fourth generation in 2019. Completely redesigned with a sleek new look, this year’s model includes a new V6 engine, tech upgrades, and comfort boosts such as heated armrests and rear seats and two-zone climate control.

Source: Courtesy of Volvo

13. Volvo 90 Series
> Avg. days on lot: 139.7
> 2018 sales: 9,662
> 2017 sales: 11,090
> Starting at: $47,350

With the luxury Volvo 90 Series, consumers have a choice of sedan or SUV, but so far buyers seem to be opting for neither, as evidenced by its occupying the unlucky No. 13 slot on this list, as well as its declining sales. The automaker introduced a V90 wagon for 2019, joining a burgeoning growth category, according to Kelley and Bloomberg.


Source: Vauxford / Wikimedia Commons

12. Alfa Romeo Stelvio
> Avg. days on lot: 141.5
> 2018 sales: 12,043
> 2017 sales: 2,721
> Starting at: $40,295

The Alfa Romeo brand has been around more than 100 years, but its presence in the U.S. market ranged from zero to limited between 1995 and 2017, the year the first 2018 model Stelvios were offered. Sales of the Stelvio climbed strikingly in 2018, though it took buyers a while to make up their minds. Though the car is handsome and well reviewed, it’s likely to take people some time to get their heads around spending their money on such an unfamiliar brand.

Source: Spencer Platt / Getty Images

11. Buick LaCrosse
> Avg. days on lot: 143.4
> 2018 sales: 15,527
> 2017 sales: 20,161
> Starting at: $29,570

The Buick LaCrosse, a full-size luxury sedan, appeared on this list last year as well. Though sales have dropped by more than 23% from 2017 to 2018, buyers were far quicker to pull the trigger on their LaCrosse purchase in 2018, cutting the car’s average stay on the dealers’ lots by 32.5 days. The model first appeared in 2004 and is now in the second year of its fourth generation. While the sedan has been well reviewed, it competes with other luxury sedans and with SUVs, which continue to gain popularity.


Source: Chris McGrath / Getty Images

10. Audi A7
> Avg. days on lot: 143.6
> 2018 sales: 3,852
> 2017 sales: 4,810
> Starting at: $68,000

The third generation of the Audi A7 midsize luxury 4-door hatchback hit the streets in 2017. New features also were added in 2018, including a bigger engine. It doesn’t seem, however, as if these add-ons grabbed consumers’ imaginations, as low sales and an average of close to five months on dealers’ lots don’t add up to high demand. Plus, buyers are simply more interested in SUVs than hatchbacks, no matter how refined.

Source: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

9. Fiat 500L
> Avg. days on lot: 146.2
> 2018 sales: 1,413
> 2017 sales: 1,664
> Starting at: $21,910

Fiat keeps getting lots of press, but for all the wrong reasons. For example, Motor1.com notes that the subcompact Fiat 500L model is the fifth worst-selling car of 2018. With fewer than 1,500 units — slowly — sold last year, the Fiat 500L doesn’t have much lower to go. It will be interesting to see what happens with Fiat in the coming months, as Consumer Reports gave the automaker a total score of 44 points, and rated it 33rdand lastplace in its overall ranking of car brands for 2019.

Source: Scott Olson / Getty Images

8. Jaguar XJ
> Avg. days on lot: 146.3
> 2018 sales: 1,579
> 2017 sales: 2,721
> Starting at: $75,700

Much has changed in the automotive and tech worlds in the past decade. Yet few of these changes are likely incorporated in the Jaguar XJ luxury sedan, which has been in its fourth generation since 2011. Luxury sedans are a hard sell these days, and the Jag’s handsome profile and legendary handling don’t outweigh its hefty price tag, lagging technology, and reputation for unreliability.


Source: Tim Boyle / Getty Images

7. Chevrolet Impala
> Avg. days on lot: 147.7
> 2018 sales: 56,556
> 2017 sales: 75,877
> Starting at: $28,020

The full-size mass-market sedan category is far from burgeoning; in fact, it’s impossible to think of a model that’s in demand. Too bad for the Chevrolet Impala, which has been in production since 1958. Although it’s still in its 10th generation, which was introduced in 2014, the Impala’s annual tweaks and updates have ensured that the model has kept up with the times. Nevertheless, the well-reviewed car is not attracting a 25% sales drop.

Source: Scott Olson / Getty Images

6. Mercedes-Benz E-Class
> Avg. days on lot: 156.1
> 2018 sales: 47,936
> 2017 sales: 53,304
> Starting at: $53,500

Redesigned in 2017, the Mercedes E-Class luxury sedan is a handsome car that’s been in production since 1993. Now in its fifth generation, the E-Class has a lot going for it, including state-of-the-art technology and an interior described as “exquisite” by Edmunds. But this classic model has a higher price tag than cars in the same embattled luxury sedan category, such as Lexus GS, Audi A6, and Infiniti Q70, according to Kelley Blue Book. That could make buyers reluctant to pull the trigger before they thoroughly check out the competition, or they may just opt to buy one of the ever more popular SUVs.


Source: Andrew Burton / Getty Images

5. Chrysler 200
> Avg. days on lot: 157.6
> 2018 sales: 1,043
> 2017 sales: 18,457
> Starting at: N/A

2018 marked the end of the line for the Chrysler 200 sedan, which went into production in 2010, replacing the Sebring. Chrysler sold a dismal total of 1,043 vehicles last year, and even though it offered unusually generous terms (84-month deals at 0% APR), the cars spent an average of more than five months on the lot before finding buyers.

Source: Giuseppe Cacace / Getty Images

4. Fiat 500
> Avg. days on lot: 160.3
> 2018 sales: 5,370
> 2017 sales: 12,685
> Starting at: $16,495

A regular slot at the top of a list sounds like a good thing, but not always. Just ask Fiat, which topped the J.D. Power’s list of the 10 least dependable cars in 2017, and settled into the No. three spot on last year’s list. Perhaps not coincidentally, sales of the Fiat 500 mass-market subcompact fell sharply from 2017 to 2018, and the car spent the fourth longest time on dealers’ lots, landing it close to the top of this list.

Source: Courtesy of Volvo

3. Volvo 60 Series
> Avg. days on lot: 177.9
> 2018 sales: 11,876
> 2017 sales: 16,825
> Starting at: $35,800

In 2018, Volvo tied with Lexus for the top car brand slot in the American Customer Satisfaction Index, rating 85 (out of 100) in customer satisfaction. Maybe Volvo buyers are so satisfied with their cars that they don’t replace them very often: The snappy 60 Series vehicles aren’t feeling the love on the car lot, where they spend an average of nearly six months. Maybe the anticipated 2019 third generation redesign will result in a pick up in the sales pace.


Source: Vauxford / Wikimedia Commons

2. Volkswagen Touareg
> Avg. days on lot: 194.1
> 2018 sales: 2,022
> 2017 sales: 3,545
> Starting at: N/A

The first Volkswagen Touaregs arrived in the U.S. market in 2004 and immediately began garnering positive reviews and sweeping up awards for their luxury feel and fine performance. The curtain came down on the once-popular vehicle with its 2017 model, with a couple thousand of its final units spending more than 194 days on dealers’ lots before being sold. In place of the midsize Touareg, VW plans to focus on selling two other SUVs in its line, the new three-row Atlas and the recently redesigned compact Tiguan.

Source: Courtesy of Mitsubishi

1. Mitsubishi Lancer
> Avg. days on lot: 195.3
> 2018 sales: 3,351
> 2017 sales: 12,725
> Starting at: N/A

These are difficult days for sedans in general, and mass-market models are having the toughest time of all. Mitsubishi stopped building its subcompact Lancer in 2017, and it took more than six months on the lot to sell the final 3,351 units. The peppy Lancer was a populaand successfulcompetitor on the world rally scene and will undoubtedly live on in many happy memories.

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